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State has information on recruiting teens in tight labor market

Many employers need teen employees more than ever as they face historically tight labor market conditions heading into summer. But with teen unemployment near a record low, employers must take their recruitment, hiring and retention efforts to the next level to attract the teen talent they need.

As of April, the youth unemployment rate in Minnesota, based on a 12-month moving average, was 6.5%, one of the lowest on record dating back to when such data first started being tracked in 2001. Not only is teen unemployment low but the share of teens who are employed is among the highest since early 2008, just under 50%.

The teen labor force participation rate, although on the rise, is not yet breaking records. At 52% in April 2022 (12-month moving average), it was in the same range it had been in 2017 and 2018 when it hit its peak after the Great Recession. This could mean that there is still some capacity to draw more teens into the labor force, which is good news for employers looking to hire teens.

As employers continue to build back to pre-pandemic employment levels, teens are likely to continue to be in high demand in the industry sectors that traditionally hire many teens, including accommodations and food services, art, entertainment and recreation, and retail trade, as well as other sectors of the economy facing shortages including health care and social assistance, transportation and warehousing and construction.

Based on the best available data, DEED forecasts that jobs in Minnesota will expand by 62,000 between third quarter 2021 and third quarter 2022, with 23% of that expansion in the industries in which youth are most likely to work.

Tips for Employers Recruiting Teens

• Make sure your job postings only include actual required qualifications. You want to make sure that if you are open to hiring teens with little to no work experience, that such teens feel welcome to apply. And make sure you state any minimum-age requirements up front to avoid frustration.

• Teens today value diversity, equity, and inclusion more than ever. If your organization is committed to offering an inclusive workplace, tell them you value the unique contributions of Black, brown and indigenous people, those who may have disabilities and folks who identify as members of the LGBT community. This recognition will make a difference. Teens need to know you welcome diversity, are committed to equity and offer an inclusive workplace.

• The first place many teens will go to find a job is the internet, so make sure that you have job openings clearly posted on your website, featuring an easy-to-use online job application, and make sure to post jobs on websites like MinnesotaWorks.net. Jobs posted on MinnesotaWorks.net show up on CareerForceMN.com, so anyone can see them.

• Many teens will want to apply to work at places they already visit, like restaurants, coffee shops, stores and movie theatres. Offer paper applications or an online application kiosk at your place of employment so young people stopping by your business can apply on the spot.

• Be prepared to offer more help to teens who may not know what documents they need to start work, like a Social Security card, state ID or birth certificate.

• Reach out to your local high schools and ask if they have a job board or host job fairs, even during the summer, for students.

• Contact a CareerForce location near you for assistance in reaching and recruiting teen employees.

• Respond to teen applicants. For example, if they are too young to work at your business, let them know at what age they can apply. If teens don’t hear back from your place of employment, they’ll tell their friends about their bad experience and that could hurt your future teen recruiting efforts.

• Ask teen workers to tell their friends you’re hiring. Teens are natural networkers and can help you get the word out about open positions. Consider a referral bonus.

Robust teen employment efforts have long-term benefits

Teens can be extremely reliable, flexible workers who are quick to learn new skills. As a result, many employers highly value them. But beyond meeting immediate staffing needs, employers should also think of summer hiring as an opportunity to build their workforce pipeline.

Helping teens see the industry as a viable career option can help in the long run.

Offering summer internships, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training opportunities to teens can help build a pipeline of workers for the industry and help you establish relationships that may further the business in the future.

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