Student Workforce

Student Workforce

 21 Sep 2017

As freshers are starting University across the UK I thought it might be timely to discuss my experience of student employees. Working in the retail sector, students represented a large proportion of my part time workforce and often worked with me throughout their degree, some even joining me full time after graduation. While many moved on to explore careers related to their degree, some discovered a passion for Retail, working in stores, or moved into other areas such as finance, buying and design.

As an HR professional, I have also studied part-time working and levels of engagement which revealed interesting data. During focus group conversations with both line managers and part time student employees it was found that, despite great learning tools which were designed to inspire staff (such as online classrooms and training sessions), often part-time employees missed out on these development opportunities as full-time staff were favoured for internal succession.

The line manager response was a consensus that students, in particular, are only in part time work to supplement their student loans without aspirations to develop in the organisation. The students themselves often expressed an interest in learning and this is cited as a reason why retention is low among millennial employees. When I reflected on my findings I saw a real opportunity to develop student employees and encourage them to stay in the organisation and offer an internal career path. So, as many students enter work for their first part-time role it is key that you offer them the same opportunities as your full-time team as they have equal potential to increase productivity and bottom line results. 

By Nadia Macdonald

 

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