Young people looking for work are regularly faced with the problem of needing experience in order to get a job, but they can’t get a job without experience – the “chicken and egg” situation which we all recognise.
Employers regularly talk of graduates and school-leavers who are looking for work but don’t have any real-world experience. Again, this is something we recognise. It’s not unnatural for employers to expect some experience, after all, there are inevitably some young people who have managed to acquire experience “somehow”, albeit probably unrelated to their chosen field.
It’s absolutely not fair, and it can’t be right. The problem is that we’re so used to the idea that “life isn’t fair”, that we justify this situation to ourselves and take no action to improve it. The result is that we continue the stand-off, and nobody wins.
Here’s a radical thought… Let’s accept that it’s not fair. But at the same time, why not do something to make it fairer?
- Employers who seek experience in young recruits should also be prepared to offer places where experience can be acquired
- Employers should offer places on a “no experience needed” basis
This is a little like the idea of “for every tree we chop down, we plant at least one to replace it”. Because we value experience, we help create it.
Employers should take a share of the responsibility for creating the experience.
- It needn’t be costly
- It needn’t be time-consuming
- It needn’t be a major commitment
It will never be completely fair, but employers can (and should) make it fairer.