My time in university, looking back now, were the most enjoyable years of my life. The increased challenge of my studies combined with a significantly amplified social life led to rapid changes that made me an all-around better person.
My work ethic became tighter than ever and my time management skills improved to accomplish both my personal and academic goals.
But regardless of the momentum that I built, at the end of university I was terrified that I would never find a job.
Who would want to hire someone fresh out of school, and what kind of positions would even be available?”
Questions like this crossed my mind, because until you’ve found employment, this is such a grey area. This is an area where employers can do a better job in communicating to youth, to attract and retain them early after graduation.
Not only does this benefit young graduates, but it also improves the competitiveness of employers. Building a recruitment strategy based on hiring post-secondary grads can drive many benefits for your organization too, including fewer skills gaps, in addition to:
1. Energy and Enthusiasm for the Food Industry
New food grads are full of energy and want to work. As new employees, they constantly want to have a full plate of tasks that provide value to the company that I’m working for. In those tasks, they’ll work as hard as possible to provide quality which will be highly regarded by their superiors.
Your company needs to harness this energy and enthusiasm. Management should embrace employees who are striving the make themselves and the company better. Want people who contribute towards team success? Hire a new graduate.
2. Continuous Learners and a Fresh Point of View
New graduates are also curious about the way things are done and want to improve efficiency wherever possible. They know that they do not have much experience and want to become better at their roles. Most importantly, they’ll ask “why?” if they do not understand the reason something is done. This is a useful tool for management in realizing old methods that are no longer the best practices for your business.
Very few people that you will hire are going to have the exact skill set to come into the role and perform it immediately without any supervision. As long as you’re going to train someone, you might as well train a recent graduate who is comfortable with learning and makes it a priority in their daily lives.
Your business will benefit from someone who can learn from others but can also teach themselves. New graduates learn quickly and embrace the systems your company has in place, making an easier transition than their older competition. Grads are the ideal candidates when it comes to their ability to learn and implement their findings into tasks.
3. Career Path Planning and Skills Development
School is a great theoretical learning platform, but real learning stems from the completion of work and taking on new tasks. Students often realize that college and university programs do not provide perfect development mechanisms for the transition into the workplace, so giving them the time and space to grow is essential.
Through strategic planning, your business should be aware of skills that are needed now or will become needed over time. The retirement of past employees mixed with the leaving of current employees means that voids in knowledge or skills will exist. By helping the professional development of recent grads, your company will mature these people into the workers that can adapt to the challenges of your business. They will be ready to bridge gaps in capabilities and solve problems before they start.
4. Lower Wage/Salary Requirements and Expectations
Most millennial graduating students will move back in with their parents. They do not need to pay for rent or a mortgage, or expenses like groceries and utilities. Furthermore, they haven’t started families and don’t need to pay for the high cost of having children. All of this put together means that for many grads, earning a stable steady income is enough to be satisfied.
Having reliable income, they can put money aside for a future down-payment on a house, purchase insurance and provide payments for a car, and still have enough to enjoy a social life on nights and weekends. For almost all grads, financial stability is a dream come true.
How many positions on your team could be filled with new graduates? What kind of savings could you instantly realize by hiring these graduates and using them to replace older staff who cost much more?
New grads will be thankful for the opportunity to work and will think of their compensation second. Starting a new graduate’s wages low and making them work for their pay increases will provide your company with valued work for less money than bringing in someone more experienced that feels entitled to high compensation.
Many companies are implementing succession planning for the ageing Baby Boomer generation; hiring a graduate might be the right fit for a replacement. With the proper mentor, a talented graduate could realize their full potential and provide long-term employment to avoid further turnover costs in the short-term.
5. Highly Innovative Digital Natives
New food grads have grown up with technology and are able to use it to a high degree of effectiveness.
Can you remember a world before the prevalence of smartphones and a versatile internet space? Students who are graduating today cannot and this provides real advantages in the modern world. Being raised in a content driven society has allowed these young people to develop creativity and communication skills. They have always been bombarded by the best, newest product or service and are leaders in technology adoption.
Supporting research and reporting, among other functions of your business, having staff that know how to use technology will provide immediate and sustained advantages. Graduates are seeking ways that technology can make their lives easier, and this also translates into their working hours. The intuitive use of technology enables them to become more innovative, while older employees must be taught how to use the technology.
6. Government Funding to Hire New Food Grads
For most food businesses, hiring new graduates brings the expectation of high recruitment and on-boarding costs. Luckily, Canada’s federal and provincial governments offer grants and wage subsidies to reduce this cost.
When bringing recent graduates onto your team, accessing government funding provides a clear advantage and can help drive greater success and accelerate their on-boarding process.
There are two ways government funding can support the hiring of recent food grads:
- Hiring Grants and Wage Subsidies: The wages of recent post-secondary graduates can be offset, either through hourly wage subsidies, or through hiring grants. Wage subsidies are more common when extending employment for summer workers, however, hiring recent grads for full-time, permanent positions could help businesses access up to 50% (to a maximum of $14,000 to $20,000) of the new hire’s salary.
- Training Grants: When leading a team of youthful employees, frequent training should be provided to ensure they’re building skills and contributing effectively. If this training is performed by third-party vendors, program costs can be reduced by up to 66% (to a maximum $10,000/trainee). For small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, a portion of salaries/wages can even be claimed during the time when training programs are occurring.
Learn More About Canadian Government Funding for Food Businesses
Food businesses have significant opportunities to access government grants and loans, both for hiring and training recent graduates, and for performing other competitiveness-improving investment activities. To explore available funding programs, please visit Mentor Works, the Government Funding Planners™.
Author: Jeff Shepherd obtained his Honours Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Guelph-Humber. He has combined his passion for marketing and economic development in his role of Marketing Coordinator at Mentor Works.
Mentor Works is a business support organization specializing in Canadian government funding. The Ontario-based business has helped hundreds of businesses build and execute their funding strategy through a mix of federal and provincial government grants, loans, and tax credits. Mentor Works offers free online resources, funding webinars, and news via their website at www.mentorworks.ca.
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