The Salva Vita Foundation – Hungary and their experts involved in project L.I.K.E. (Life Investment is the Key to Employment) conducted focus groups with employers and companies’ representatives to explore their views regarding the challenges of the long-term employment of NEETs.
The participants in the focus groups represent different sectors and different sized companies. The shortage of workforce was one of the hot topics of the conversation, and it became critical in some sectors in the last 1-2 years which leads to lowering of the criteria and expectations from the newcomers. According to some employers the chance is given to everyone who applies for a job, and meets the minimum qualification requirements – which means 8 grades of elementary school education. Some of them state that many of the unemployed are not in a good physical condition. As a result of bad experiences, most companies developed their own reading comprehension tests to be passed by every applicant. Regarding psychological problems, employers are more tolerant and supportive if these are discovered during employment (and not upon hiring).
Key factors for employment of the NEETs
NEETs’ development in advance (before applying for a position) is emphasized.
Many participants state that motivation is needed for employment, and more employers see lack of motivation as a key factor in unemployment and in frequent changes of workplaces. According to the respondents, motivation can be increased by:
- professional development;
- work-life balance and satisfying individual needs if possible;
- improvement of working environment (cool working conditions (coloured walls, possibility of listening to music in the warehouse, free coffee, etc.), extra health care services,
- characteristics of the job – more diverse positions can be more motivating.
Another obstacle can be that youngsters apply for jobs that do not match his/her qualities. Unrealistic self-image and lack of self-knowledge were mentioned as a general problem.
Application can be a barrier as well: an employer mentioned lack of adequate job seeking techniques. How to write a CV and a motivation letter was mentioned by more employers. Participants had different views, some opinions suggested that youngsters are able to write a CV generally, some disagreed.
Differences among more generations were mentioned as a hurdle for smooth integration, and some organisations try hard to manage them. In the Army special attention is paid to putting people of similar age close to each other, as they spend much time together, sometimes in a very small place. It was mentioned that different competencies and skills can be made use of in easing the integration process.
The participants also explain about cases where young people have difficulties into fitting in the big organizational structure. Those kind of people need more time and engagement, extra training. Employers also state that in the last years they became more patient with those kind of people and walking the extra mile to help instead of firing them when they see they have difficulties.
State- or civilian-provided services to support NEET’s employment and retention
- Motivation of the NEETs was mentioned as an essential factor in success.
- Approaching and reaching the NEETs is essential. One participant recommended building partnerships with NGOs, which could work with NEETs and can support their understanding.
- Career advice services and self-knowledge trainings are considered to be useful.
- Soft skill trainings could be provided by NGOs. Many of the respondents shared the opinion that NEETs are self-doubted, thus improvement of self-esteem and self-confidence was emphasized.
- Teaching the basic requirements of a workplace: arriving on time, basic social skills, communication norms – replying to an email, etc.
- Education, sensitivity training for the companies to enable them to open towards these youngsters.
- Better knowledge and more information of the positions
- Mentoring by an external mentor was considered as a good option.
- Accommodation and support of travelling costs g. a company bus
- 3 employers operate an anonymous line for personal problems. Usage of these hot-lines are not always frequent, many employees are afraid of using them. Change in corporate culture would be needed to increase their usage.