HR must consider the impact of first employment experiences

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Employers must consider how important the first steps into work are, according to Costa's talent director

Employers of first-jobbers need to appreciate the fundamental impact initial employment experiences have on the rest of a recruit’s career, coffee shop chain Costa’s global talent director Priya Farish has said.

She called for a reassessment of how organisations develop new staff, after research conducted by the company found more than a third of employees say their first job helped them prepare for future roles.

In the survey of 2,500 16- to 25-year-olds 34% said their first job gave them communication, team-working and customer services skills they carried on using in subsequent positions.

Respondents reported that this effect was experienced whether the first job was in full-time employment requiring qualifications or a temporary or part-time role.

Costa claims to hire 110 young people into its first jobs per week. Farish said other employers should help workers reflect on “how important that first step in your career is; to help you explore opportunities for whatever future career you go into”.

“If you’re in an industry where on average you provide opportunities for people to get that first rung on the ladder, I think we have a responsibility as employers to make sure that we help them understand how the skills they are learning are not about their jobs right now, but how they will serve them well in their future careers – really help them understand how to develop and what options are available to them,” said Farish. “Giving them careers advice is really important.”

Costa also surveyed 1,500 UK employers as part of the research, and found 69% cited good teamworking to be the most important skill they look for in a new recruit.

More than two-fifths (42%) want hires with good people skills, while 40% said a likable personality is an essential quality.

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