According to a recent study conducted by the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, some manufacturers are opting not to hire young individuals due to concerns about their reliability.

The chamber’s quarterly survey highlighted that certain businesses were facing difficulties when younger employees failed to show up for work.

Consequently, these companies have decided to no longer consider individuals under the age of 21 for employment opportunities. Ruth Ross, Chief Executive of the chamber, expressed that finding suitable staff members continues to be a challenging task.

Ross stated, “Interview no-shows or younger recruits who do not complete their first week are impeding the manufacturing industries.” The survey received responses from numerous businesses, all of which remained anonymous.

While recruitment has been a significant concern for the past 18 months, this marks the first occasion where respondents have specifically highlighted issues encountered with younger hires. Richard Sheehan, the chamber’s previous Chief Executive, believes that more can be done to better prepare young individuals for the workforce. However, he also acknowledges that there are exceptional young talents within Shropshire’s businesses, accomplishing remarkable feats.

Are young candidates all that are businesses expressing concern about?

In addition to the hiring challenges, businesses expressed frustrations regarding the sluggish payment speed of certain customers, interest rates, and declining profitability due to escalating costs. One hospitality business mentioned, “We are charging more for our services, but this doesn’t align with the increased staff costs. Moreover, food, wine, and tax expenses have risen, making it less than ideal for a restaurant.”

The report encompasses the period between April and June of this year and also highlights a decrease in investment in plant, machinery, and training across Shropshire during the second quarter.

Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula comments on age diversity in hiring processes:

“Each generation is different to the next, so therefore an employer’s approach to the process of onboarding and engaging staff should be too. What matters to older workers will not be the same as younger ones. Employers must learn what these differences are and what it means for onboarding and building engagement.

“Engagement and onboarding does not start on the first day of employment; it starts with the job advert, the application and interviews. From the very beginning employers need to show young workers why they are the right choice for them. This starts with checking what’s being offered.

“Grandparents leave, menopause support, a fertility policy; these are great to have, but they’re not necessarily going to be what young workers want. A cycle to work scheme, a loan for their first car, or a discount at the local gym on the other hand might be of more interest. Showing that the workplace is the place for them, and providing what they want and need, helps to build engagement early in the employment relationship.

“It’s worth adapting onboarding processes too. This may be their first job, so an introduction to the workplace, expectations around office etiquette, breaks and start and finish times is likely to be appreciated. As will making them feel like one of the team, not the youngster. Give them a chance to get to know their colleagues and share what their interests are; they might have more in common with existing staff than they expect. Settling them in well, making them feel part of the team, is as an important part of onboarding as getting them working, and helps to build engagement and commitment for the longer term.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.