16 to 24 years olds and employment prospects

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Team Lead

Sykes


Hi all, there has been a lot of focus recently about the levels of unemployment for 16 to 24 year olds.

So, what are your thoughts on this? how well are this age group currently represented in your team or work place? What reservations if any might you have about employing someone from this age group? What advice would you offer such people to give them a better chance at creating a positive impression with you?


Team Lead

Sykes


To get things started.... I have employed very young agents 16 or 17 and generally they have been good agents, some even quickly gained promotion. However, when I look around now I'd say that the majority of staff are probably out-with this age group most being in their mid to late 20's.

A lack of work experience in a call centre or generally wont necesarily prevent me from giving someone an opportunity if they come accross as bright, enthusiastic and can use non working experience to answer competency based questions.

To create a positive impression? - carefully check a CV, even if it is submitted by an agency, spelling mistakes and typo's dont give a good first impression and neither does an opening statement about how they want to pursue a career it say IT when it is a CS role!

Be early! if you have notice for an interview - visit first so you know where you are going and how long it takes to get there.

Dress smartly, smile whilst waiting, be friendly and warm (but dont over do it) be confident with a can do attitude (but dont come accross as over confident).


Operations Manager


Hi, interesting you bought this up, I've been watching 'Up For Hire' on BBC3 this week and am astonished that the younger generation are complaining that there are no jobs! We are constantly recruiting across the UK and a call centre is a great stepping stone for School or Uni leavers.


Team Lead

Sykes


I agree Marc, and thanks for responding. So how much of your work force is represnted by this age group?

This is indeed an excellent stepping stone, however, as Jonty highlighted on another post our (wonderful!) industry has a bad reputation (apparently) and perhaps some people in this age group consider work in this industry a poor choice? - from things I've heard there may be an element of this generation being a bit too choosy about a job, perhaps more so if the are graduates (as am I and many others here).

Also, I complete lots of surveys and I rarely see the Contact Centre industry listed as an option to describe the type of work I do, the same when it comes to getting insurance for my car, Flat etc. We must employ an awful lot of people but I feel this industry is ignored a little?

Also, are the government doing anything to help us in this industry offer opportunities to this age group - with tax breaks or some other sweetner? for example apprentiship or even a months work experience that they subsidise to give them skills and work experience!

The skills and experiences people can gain in this industry are incredible and so easily transferrable to many, many careers!

I look forward to reading what others have to say :O)


Digital Media Manager

Call Centre Helper


It's funny you should mention this, was reading the Daily Mail this morning and came across this article;

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2051170/Towns-jobs-galore--interested-doing-says-damning-survey-bosses.html


Operations Manager


The vast majority of my work force are under 25 years old and I do have post grad Telesales advisors.

There is a big debate around the expectations of holding a degree and how possibly people expect to walk into a job after completing their studies...

I must say, over the years I'm seeing more and more young people thinking that the world owes them a career of their choice and the work ethics are changing.

Most importantly, I feel that people have forgotten what makes a good interview!

There is a stigma around call centre work in this country and perhaps the perception given on TV shows (namely offshore call centres) hasn't helped the reputation.

I started in call centres at the age of 16 as a part time agent while at college and now I have a great career with great earning potentials and i have travelled to some great countries with my job...


Planning & Control


We have a very large number of young people.

In fact 16-24 makes up about 80% of our staff. I think depending where the centre is based can have a large impact on the demographic of agents that apply.

As you suggested Bunny, the reputation does contribute to this. We don't deliberately try and recruit young people, but it is really only young people that tend to apply.

Based on the fact many are straight out of college, or have only ever had part time jobs (such as waiting) we don't look for experience, just attitude.

One of the issues I think young people face is that they don't know what to expect in a job, and this means their attitude isn't correct when they start. They can't help this, but many of them think of it as the same as school (A bit of a laugh, and they can put in the minimum effort. Work ethic normally takes a while to develop.)

We account for this, and in a way its nice to help them develop an understanding of a professional work environment which will improve their employment opportunities for future, but I can understand some centres could be put off.

On a plus they all have great pc skills.


Team Lead

Sykes


KevinP - I agree that they have excellent computer skills and with the rise in social media I'd imagine they will perhaps be key in taking this communication mechanism forward.

I'm reading the article 'rboyton' mentioned, we are multi lingual here and my current team is made up of Itailian agents and I have to say they have a very different approach to work and work ethic than i generally see with UK teams - they are more reliable, work very hard and listen to and apply coaching feedback - they are exceeding targets at every level - this ties in with this quote from the article'It found bosses prefer foreign workers to British school leavers because they have a more ‘positive’ attitude.'

There is also cristicism of this groups literacy skills - and I cant help but wonder if text speak and social media is playing a part in this?

Perhaps I was lucky and went to a good school but I have been shocked at times at the written language skills of some agents (older than 24 in many cases).

I also wonder if mobile phones have changed things - do people still have a 'telephone voice'? are we losing the ability to communicate face to face?


Call Centre Manager

The Private Clinic


I have more 20-24 year olds in my call centre. Less that 30% of people applying for a position in our call centre actually turn up for interveiws(90% fall between the age of 17-21). There is much talk about this age group finding it hard to get employed but very little said about how a lot of them don't want to work. In saying that my best agents fall in that 20-24 age group.


Team Lead

Sykes


Wow! do you recruit via an agency or direct? Do you know if there is a history of unemployment? I remember doing a study when I started (didn't fionish!) a PHD back in the mid 90's and I was so shocked that genrations of families had never had a job - grandad, father and son. Surely you cant have much of a life signing on?


Account Manager

Commsworld


I think the problem is there are many people of this age that still live at home where mum and dad supply everything they need and use their dole money or allowance for going out with

Are the parents to blame or have we gotten soft with our young people today and let them get away with it

There is a way of getting work out there whatever the age if you put yourself out

Need to find some levers to boost these kids out of the door to get them to the workplace


Operations Director

Vox Intelligent Marketing


I have employed c.75 16-24 yr olds and in the main have done exactly what I have needed them to do. Its really important that you understand what you are getting and in turn manage your own expectations from this.

Challange - Yes, they can be difficult to get into work!! I find that if you send weekly performance updates addressed to them to their home address then it tends to fall into the correct hands and then in turn you find the parents manage them on your behalf


Team Lead

Sykes


Thanks paddy. So, reading between the lines then you seem to imply this age group may have higher absence levels than others? Does it hit their pay packet?


CSI Coordinator

Enterprise Rent A Car


I have to say we too have a lot of agents from that age range and our biggest issue is they start in our customer service department (which is 24/7) and then when they find out that our special accounts teams dont work weekends they apply in their droves to get out of the weekends and bank holidays.

We still keep the staff (which is great) but they dont stay one main contact centre lines very long.


Operations Director

Vox Intelligent Marketing


I found that after you explained the process that absence actually reduced to below what I expected.

I dont pay sick leave but it is not the financial implications that are an issue for this age group as generaly they live at home and have minimal outgoings. Instead it is the process of weekly updates thats the winner


MD

Phoenix Leisure Team Building Events


Personally I think that young people in this age group can be great employees. I know they get a lot of stick in the media but the ones that i have employed have always been keen and enthusiastic to learn. They are not as cynical as many older people either.


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