Recent job market data shows opportunity for teen talent

July 18th, 2023
The HireVue Team
Seasonal hiring

Today’s leisure and hospitality hiring teams are in a fast-paced race for talent. For two summers in a row, leisure and hospitality continue to be top hiring industries. 

According to the US Labor Department, US employers added 209,000 jobs in June. In addition, the unemployment rate was 3.6% compared to 3.7% in May. 

But there’s a rising demographic of workers looking for work—33.6% of 16-19-year-olds are working this season, compared to 32.7% last year. Not to mention, teen summer wages have risen in recent years, even after accounting for inflation. Last summer, the median hourly pay for teenagers rose to $14, from $11.50 in 2019. 

Teen talent provides an opportunity for hires in leisure, hospitality, food and beverage, and seasonal work like lifeguarding, amusement parks, or even nannying. But it’s important to remember that not all teens are just looking for spare spending money. Many teens help supplement their family income or are even the main source of funding for school or basic needs. So many are already working. In March, 5.48 million workers aged 16-19 were employed—the highest total since 2007.

So what does this mean for hiring teams looking for hourly, high-volume talent? It means you have a massive opportunity with teen talent—but your processes better be up to par. Teens grew up in the digital age, and they have expectations for the hiring process—and if you want to reach them, you need to be doing more than emailing them.

Below are 3 tips to keep in mind when looking to engage and hire teen workers. 

Want to reach young teen talent? Power your hiring with text.

HireVue continues to see the adoption of text and chat-based hiring in high-volume roles—in addition to the general increase in mobile interviews. Not to mention, 50% of HireVue interviews take place outside of normal business hours and on weekends. (Hint: candidates value flexibility.

Today’s teenagers are part of a generation that grew up with technology—they didn’t have to learn it like their predecessors. They’ve grown up with computers, wifi (not dial-up), social media, and texting. According to 99 Firms, “95% of teens report they have a smartphone or access to one,” and “73% of Gen Z-ers use their internet-connected devices primarily for texting and chatting.” 

Hiring teams, if you want to reach today’s teens, you have to text them and offer mobile-friendly solutions.

The reality is if you are just emailing today’s teens you could be missing out. Texting is key to reaching this market. HireVue solutions are all easily accessible on a smartphone—allowing teams to engage, screen, assess, interview, and hire with mobile-friendly solutions. 

The bottom line? Candidates value flexibility. Structured interviewing is entirely driven by text and lets organizations lean into technology—and coupled with competency-based interview questions, the entire experience is backed by science. 

For example, a candidate can job match (more on that later), screen and prequalify for a role, schedule an interview, complete an assessment, and interview for a job—all easily from their mobile phone. 

One Fortune 500 company that hires high-volume, hourly positions has leaned into on-demand interviewing. Compared to last summer, the company is now completing 5.1 interviews a day compared to last year’s 3.7 interviews. 

Black Angus, another HireVue customer, has incorporated text recruiting into their hiring and the results are staggering:

  • 74% respond within an hour
  • 96% respond within an hour

Seeing an increase in hourly hiring? Match candidates based on skills.

Last summer, the top 3 role titles candidates searched for were server, kitchen staff, and host. This summer, the top 3 are server, host, and carryout. And from May to June this year, many industries are hiring more hourly, customer-facing roles and less non-hourly:

  • Retail (-5% in non-hourly roles)
  • Manufacturing (26% growth in hourly roles in June)
  • Food and beverage (17% growth in hourly roles)
  • Hospitality and Recreation (7% growth in hourly roles, -16% in non-hourly)
  • Pharmaceutical (40% increase in hourly roles)

So it’s safe to say smart hiring depends on efficient job matching at the beginning of your hiring process. Incorporating a chatbot that can “think” outside the box of just showing one role allows you to scale your hiring by matching candidates with roles by skill set and providing them with all the options. 

Candidates frequently don’t know what roles they’re looking for, and that’s okay! With Job Matching Automation, candidates type in a position of interest and even upload a resume. We’ll then compare the job across all jobs and job descriptions in our library to determine similar jobs based on skills, tasks, or even work activities. Our solutions review customer-specific job requisitions and then display job recommendations to the candidates for an easier, faster, enhanced candidates experience. 

While candidates may search for specific roles, there could be other options they’re a fit for—options they may not even know exist. For example, if your candidate searches for “waiter” and your restaurant calls it “server,” the wrong chatbot will leave them with no results. However, with Job Matching Automation, a smart chatbot can search based on the skills needed for a waiter or waitress and see that they match with the server position—and provide that as an available option to the candidate. 

Consider the skills plus

Job Matching Automation is based on the premise that skill assessment is the best way to predict success—not resumes or experience. 

Measuring hard and soft skills is the key to making smart hiring decisions, but there is also something we call “Skills Plus”—an especially critical piece for assessing early talent. A candidate may have all the skills but little interest or motivation in actually doing the job. They’re probably not the right fit. But for early talent, a lot of jobs don’t require skills, so hiring technology can measure other factors like aptitude—instead of the skills that will be more crucial later in their careers. 

Adopting the right hiring technology can allow you to not only reach early talent but effectively assess them on the qualities that better predict success—ensuring you’re spending less time on hiring and more on servicing customers.  

Ready to bring your hiring to the next level? Request a demo today.