Candidate Pools & Proactive Recruiting

Filling Summer Job Openings

Summertime and the living is easy, unless of course you can’t find candidates to fill summer job openings. This year, why not make it a point to target teens for some of those summer jobs?

Source: Petar Chernaev / E+ / Getty

The teen talent pool, sometimes overlooked, offers greater opportunity than you may realize.

Research Shows

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for teenagers, ages 16 through 19, stands at 13.5 percent as of March 2018. By contrast, the overall unemployment rate is 4.1 percent.

The unemployment rate for teens is more than three times higher than that of the general population. This suggests a large talent pool.

Granted, teen job seekers may not have as much experience as some other candidates. However, research finds that these potential employees have much to offer.

Young people in this age group are members of Generation Z, a generation that has no sense of entitlement. Gen Zers are willing to work hard and pay their dues. They are also very practical.

Stumbling Block

A large pool of hard-working candidates? What’s the catch?

Interestingly, there is one. And it’s not what you might suspect.

Increases in the minimum wage have a negative impact on teen employment, according to the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), a non-profit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth; an organization that, in particular, focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment.

Higher minimum wage rates price teens out of jobs, EPI research finds. When the minimum wage gets boosted, employers frequently cut down on hiring teens who typically fill lower-priority positions.

Employers are unable to afford to hire more unskilled and inexperienced workers when the minimum wage increases, EPI notes. As labor becomes more expensive, businesses hire fewer workers, and unskilled teens remain unemployed.

In January 2018, EPI published a list of 18 states and 20 localities that increased the minimum wage on either Dec. 31 or Jan. 1. Some of these increases were significant. In Mountain View, California, the minimum wage increased by 15.38 percent. In Colorado, the state minimum wage increased by 9.68 percent.

Up Against It

While the struggle to pay higher wages is real, employers also struggle with another issue. Recruiters and hiring managers frequently lament the lack of unskilled talent. However, in order to develop skills, young people need work experience.

How dire is the situation? An ongoing poll at Teens4Hire, a job site for U.S. teens and the companies that hire them, asks, “If you are 25 or younger, have you ever had a paying job?” The current results are nothing short of astonishing: 73.11 percent of respondents say no.

Lest you think respondents don’t want to work, consider the answer to the poll’s second question, “If you are 25 or younger, have you ever had a non-paying job such as a volunteer or intern?” Currently, 55.30 percent say yes.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.