Published on 2020-09-24

With younger workers amongst the worst affected by the pandemic, Hays CEO Alistair Cox says it is the duty of business leaders to act and support this generation of workers.

瀚纳仕首席执行官Alistair Cox表示,年轻员工受疫情影响最为严重,企业领导有责任采取行动为这一代员工提供支持。

As the 2021 autumn recruitment season approaches, graduates in China are facing unprecedented challenges in the wake of COVID-19. Public figures from the Ministry of Education show that the number of fresh graduates in 2020 will reach 8.74 million, a record high. But according to a recent report by the Development Research Center of the State Council, China Development Research Foundation and recruitment website Zhaopin, 26.3% of the 2020 graduates are still seeking jobs as of June this year, a year-on-year increase of 4.4%. This means that many may face the challenge of "two-term superposition" where they have to continue competing for available jobs with the next wave of graduates.

But while China’s thousands of state-owned enterprises, local governments, and public institutions are expanding their hiring to accommodate the growing number of graduates, Alistair Cox, CEO of global recruiting experts Hays, stresses the importance of business leaders to act; “Whilst of course, our young people are more than capable of helping themselves out of this situation, they can’t do it alone. They need us to hear them. They need our help and support. While it’s encouraging to see many governments around the world stepping in to help protect their careers – from job creation and employment guarantee schemes, to training incentives, apprenticeship programmes and job retention bonuses – employers also have a pivotal role to play in unlocking the ‘lockdown generation’.” 

Alistair says companies should continue with their graduate and intern schemes to help the younger generation, they should support their younger workers in working remotely, and onboarding processes will need to be adapted to reflect the new era of work.

Alistair also states that employers must open their minds when hiring and move away from set pre-requirements; “It shouldn’t matter where a candidate went to university, or even if they went to university at all. What matters is that they are the best person for the job. What matters is their potential. So, widen your net to consider those who have completed apprenticeships or vocational educational training going forward – the focus shouldn’t just be on university education. 

Alistair says that when it comes to reviewing grades, organisations must remember that due to the disruption caused during the exam season, grades which appear on a jobseeker’s ’s CV might not be a fair reflection of their abilities. However, what can help build a more accurate picture of a candidate is understanding how they have used the lockdown period proactively, such as volunteering, caring for vulnerable family members, additional learning or taking on home projects. This information will help organisations gain a valuable insight into the character and potential of applicants.

Investing in the skills development of employees, regardless of their generation, is key to an organisation’s future success in the new era of work. Alistair states that the first step is to start at the beginning, and work to close the disconnect between the skills that are taught in formal education settings, and the skills that employers and industries actually need in the real world. 

Alistair advises; “It’s now absolutely essential employers work with educators to facilitate work-based learning and degree apprenticeships – albeit in a socially distanced world – and are given access to help frame the curriculum so we can be sure it is as relevant as possible for the new era of work.” 

Alistair says that it’s the obligation of leaders to facilitate the sharing of practical, honest, real world careers advice to those young people still in education, such as mentorship programmes, industry days or even our own social media networks. 

Alistair comments; “This is particularly important now for a number of reasons: education has been disrupted due to the pandemic, young people are tending to stay in education longer and, lastly and perhaps most importantly, the world of work is changing faster than ever before.”  

Alistair continues; “As leaders, we’re out there in the world, we’re on the ground, every day, so we’re uniquely placed to share our thoughts and guidance in order to ensure each student has a well-rounded view of the skills in demand and how they might fit into our world going forward.”

There is an increasing need for companies to define and articulate their purpose, their reason for existing. As company valuations and project expectations have been completely thrown out of the window by the pandemic – Alistair says now could be the ideal opportunity for Boards to do the right thing, to re-evaluate shareholder returns and devote proper investment towards their social purpose by helping the youth of today blossom tomorrow. 

 Using Hays as an example, Alistair says; “This is something we are working hard on developing at Hays. Our purpose of “creating opportunities and improving lives” is perfectly placed to help our future generations, whether that be in the form of, as I’ve said above, providing careers and workplace advice or helping them upskill or reskill. It is undeniably true that the social contract between society and business is changing; much of this movement being accelerated by the coronavirus.”

Alistair closes by saying; “This is a call to arms to all the leaders out there. The needs of your current employees are of course important right now, I’m not questioning that. But we mustn’t lose sight of our youth. They need our guidance more than ever now. They are the future and we must do what we can to ensure that future is as bright as possible.”

This content was originally published as a LinkedIn Influencer blog.




 在中国数千家国有企业、地方政府和公共机构扩大招聘规模以适应不断增长的毕业生数量的同时,全球招聘专家瀚纳仕首席执行官Alistair Cox强调,企业领导也必须采取行动:“当然,我们的年轻人有能力摆脱就业困境,但他们无法独自做到这一点。他们需要我们倾听他们的心声,需要我们的帮助和支持。从创造就业机会到出台就业保障计划,再到培训激励措施、学徒计划和岗位留任奖金,世界各地的许多政府都在帮助年轻人就业,这令我们很欣慰。与此同时,雇主在帮助年轻人就业方面也要发挥关键作用。 












 此内容最初作为LinkedIn Influencer博客发布。