That is the conclusion of a new report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which argues that there is a strong business case for increasing the inclusion in the workplace of young people, but that employers are not always aware of this.
A poll of almost 800 employers found that the majority (71 per cent) believe they have a role to play in tackling youth unemployment, but a quarter have not employed anyone aged 16-24 in the last 12 months and only 56 per cent plan to do so in the coming year.
According to the CIPD, the research suggests that some employers have negative perceptions of young people, which discourages them from investing in them.
However, based on a number of case studies, the organisation highlights a number of tangible benefits of taking on younger employees.
For example, young employees help businesses meet the need to build a pipeline of talent for their future workforce, while also allowing employers to increase the diversity of their staff to better reflect their customer base.
Taking on young workers also offers firms the opportunity to strengthen the employer brand by demonstrating that the organisation is actively engaging with its community, as well as offering the cost benefits associated with investing in training and development at a young age, says the CIPD.
“Employing young people has clear benefits to business and society, but there is some work to do in encouraging and supporting more employers to take on and develop young people,” said Peter Cheese, chief executive at the CIPD.
“We need to make the business case crystal clear. We need to promote the best routes for young people in to employment, including apprenticeships, and highlight how employers can best engage with schools and colleges to work with young people in raising work awareness and employability skills.”