Is Your Next Hire 12 Years Old? Recruiting the Next Generation Now!

by Michael Haberman on November 4, 2011 · 0 comments


What are you doing today to attract the next generation of workers to your company? Are you being as creative as the accounting firm of Deloitte? In 2007 they had a research study done by The Weekly Reader. (Yes, the same Weekly Reader that all school children in the U.S. have been reading since 1902.) The study showed that around the age of 12 children are starting to make decisions about what kind of job they will want to have as adults. The research also showed that by age 16 most had narrowed down their choices to just a few possibilities.

Deloitte’s forecasting has shown that by 2015 there will be a shortage of trained accountants. They wanted to proactively capture part of the anticipated 5.4 million college student that are graduating between 2011 and 2014. So in 2007 they began a program to acquaint middle school students with the accounting profession through career exploration activities.

I have long been a member of my local chamber of commerce where I was involved with a program called Partners-in-Education. Many of the companies involved participated for two reasons. First they wanted to do “good.” Secondly they wanted to promote their “brand” to the students and to the parents of the students. This promotion generally has a more immediate marketing goal.

This effort very easily could have, and should have, had a secondary goal of recruitment. Why can’t you attract future workers at the same time you are attracting current customers? Some companies may not have any need to attract customers because they don’t have that kind of product. But they can still get children thinking of potential careers in engineering, biology, mathematics or chemistry by sponsoring and conducting fairs and competitions. Or they can supply materials and/or training to the science and math teachers at a selected school.

Perhaps you can be very bold and tell a group of sixth graders that they will ALL have jobs with your company when they graduate from college. I once talked to the VP of HR for a grocery chain that had recognized they were going to be facing a shortage of pharmacists. So the VP of HR told me his strategy for recruiting future pharmacists was to go the pharmacy school and make a presentation to first year students. He announce to the entire class that ALL of them had jobs when they graduated. All they had to do was come and see him. He knew in reality he would not get all those graduates, but he was hoping he would get  a larger percentage than if he waited until their graduation time to recruit them.

So ask yourself the question “Am I as smart as an accountant?” Determine what you can do to start capturing 12 year olds to be your future employees and then put together a workable plan. It will take some work. It does not solve any current problems. It is a solution for 10 years down the road. Hopefully you can convince you management team of the importance of that foresight.

Source of the idea: The 2020 Work Place

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