Lack of experience deters SMEs from hiring young people

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Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are reluctant to hire young people because of a perceived lack of experience.

This is the conclusion of a study by Direct Line for Business, which revealed 40 per cent of SMEs polled have been put off hiring a youth applicant because they did not have enough experience.

However, this is not the only factor putting SME employers off taking on younger people.

Some 16 per cent of respondents revealed they had issues when they hired under-21s in the past and were choosing not to put themselves in that situation again.

Meanwhile, 20 per cent of SMEs said they found younger members of staff unreliable.

A similar proportion stated that the cost of training young employees can often be high, while almost one in four said they were put off hiring people aged between 18 and 21 because they tend to leave after a fairly short period of time.

Gary Holmes, product manager at Direct Line for Business, commented: "SMEs represent the vast majority of UK businesses and are therefore the biggest opportunity for young people starting their careers, helping them to gain valuable experience."

He pointed out that the number of people aged between 18 and 21 in employment in the UK is currently falling.

However, Mr Holmes acknowledged that the trade industry is bucking the overall trend by "continuing to give young people and apprentices an opportunity to forge a career". This, he stated, is "refreshing" to see.