The key attracters for young talent in the workforce
The ETSA survey went on to ask respondents what would convince them to pursue a career in the textile services. These were the key factors:
Salary and benefits
It goes without saying that remuneration will always be a key factor when it comes to employee satisfaction. But for the younger generation, value is also placed on additional benefits beyond money. Consider what benefits you can offer your employees to make them feel more appreciated, such as contributions to childcare, gym memberships, travel expenses or offering free e-bikes.
It’s no surprise that the pandemic has led to a greater desire amongst young people to have more flexibility from their workplace, and an improved work-life balance. Consider how your workplace can adapt to offer flexibility in working hours that are suited both to your employees’ responsibilities and their desire for a healthier balance between their work and personal lives. This may include hybrid working models (a mixture of working from home and in the office), and the option for employees to start earlier or later.
Potential for career growth
For some younger workers, a driving factor in their employment choices is the ability to see a pathway for career progression. This is particularly important to consider given the fact that many roles in the textiles industry are low-paid, so the potential to grow and upskill is attractive. Consider what you can offer to make your workplace one that promotes growth: from skills training to the opportunity for younger employees to shadow more experienced colleagues. Furthermore, look for opportunities for younger employees to take on projects which will challenge and enrich them — remembering that they are your ambassadors for the future.
Given the environmental and climate challenges we face, the emphasis that a company places on sustainable practices has fast become an important consideration to young talent. In the ETSA survey, over half of respondents stated that they placed a high value on the issue of environmental sustainability on both a personal and professional level. However, when asked if they perceived the textile services industry as being sustainable, the majority responded that they did not. We must therefore work to tackle this misperception of our industry as not being environmentally conscious.
Communication is key: being transparent about the strategies we have in place, and are working towards, in order to create a greener workplace that future employees will be proud to join. ETSA, as an EU Commission Climate Pact Ambassador, is doing this very thing. By communicating with both policymakers and the general public, it is ETSA's objective to act as a bridge between EU institutions and the textile services industry, not only to encourage our industry to become even more circular but to showcase all we have already accomplished.
“To present yourself, you need to speak a language young people understand.”
— Nikolas Schulze-Makuch
Communications around sustainability: the key to unlocking potential
Sustainability can be leveraged not just as a marketing tool for statutory and competitive benefits, but also as an effective commitment tool. This input from young professionals helped the congress members to understand that we need to improve communication about our sustainability goals and actions, promote them during the full recruitment process and beyond, and concretely show candidates how they can contribute.
Furthermore, we need to work on consistent communication towards our employees to stay connected to this sustainability transformation. Transparency and a clear vision are important values young talent look for in an employer; by understanding and championing this, we will unlock huge potential in the labour market.
Working towards a diverse and inclusive workforce
While working to attract young talent, we must of course not forget the wealth of skill and experience that currently exists in our workplaces. Talent blends with experience, and by bringing together a new generation of workers together with seasoned professionals, we can create a workplace that all our employees are proud to be part of.