Rewriting the Rules in the New World of Work: New Initiatives for Recruiting, Training and Upskilling Young People

On the occasion of International World Youth Skills Day, Alexandre Viros presents how Adecco Group is rewriting the rules for how it organises, recruits, develops, and manages its youth workforce in a dramatically changing digital, economic and social landscape. Banner image: Shutterstock/MandriaPix
Rewriting the Rules in the New World of Work: New Initiatives for Recruiting, Training and Upskilling Young People
This article is part of a series in which OECD experts and thought leaders  from around the world and all parts of society  address the COVID-19 crisis, discussing and developing solutions now and for the future. Aiming to foster the fruitful exchange of expertise and perspectives across fields to help us rise to this critical challenge, opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the OECD.




The 15th of July is International World Youth Skills Day, intended to draw attention to the strategic importance of equipping young people with the skills needed throughout their lives. This has been a key issue that we have been addressing for many years and continues to be at the top of our agenda, as worldwide youth unemployment continues to rise. HR leaders are facing many challenges on how to get this right, in a dramatically changing digital, economic and social landscape. At the Adecco Group, we are convinced of the importance of rewriting the rules for how we organise, recruit, develop, and manage our youth workforce, and see this as an opportunity to rescale & rethink our HR practices.

First, as an opportunity to recruit differently & to become more open-minded when it comes to our recruitment processes: Adecco Group France, through the Group’s QAPA platform, has set up an innovative programme specifically targeting young people, launched in June at Vivatech, dedicated to Inclusion at the very first start of a young talent’s professional journey. The “Premiers jobs” platform matches young people with job offers & skills requirements, the innovation being that it is done without any CV. The offer is also unique because it gives the beginners and students who start with flexible work access to the coverage and the protection of a temporary employment contract. It means that the candidate has a professional insurance with health and pension coverage, holidays as well as unemployment coverage included for the duration of the assignment. Premiers Jobs reshapes the recruitment process: job offers are based on the candidates' choices, according to their abilities and aspirations. The talent acquisition technology platform QAPA manages sourcing, video interviewing and onboarding. And it meets the reality of the New World of Work where the world of recruitment is to be a digital experience for digital natives.

To recruit differently, the Adecco Group France also set up a school directly connected to  employment market needs:  the Grande Ecole de l'Alternance. Over 30,000 people have studied there since its creation and have been recruited on 7,500 contracts. In 2019 we created our own training center in France dedicated to an innovative recruitment process. This method integrates the right candidates into a tight labour market and offers a more inclusive approach.

Read more on the Forum Network: The Power of Youth: Building an inclusive society should start in the classroom by Miyu Sasaki, Member, OECD Youthwise

Secondly, rewriting rules is an opportunity to keep young talents: candidates are now looking for a wider range of collective and individual benefits when seeking for a job: company culture but also company reputation, personal fulfillment and career progression are crucial factors that come into play. At the Adecco Group France, we are providing opportunities for flexible working-conditions, a suitable level of autonomy for employees and we regularly host  events. In the open talent economy, young talents move from one position to another, within and outside the company and across geographic boundaries. Therefore, work-life balance, family and individual wellness are increasingly viewed as a part of the employee experience.

Thirdly, as an opportunity to promote young leaders into leadership much faster and to promote learning on their job. We are forced to rethink the way we manage careers and develop training to organise dynamic work outcomes. Forty percent of temporary workers are under 26 years old, which shows that this work is a crucial step to access longer-term employment. In the past, employees acquired skills for a career before starting it, now the career itself is a journey of learning. Young people will have different jobs in their lives. Hence, they will seek continuous skills development. At the Adecco Group France, we contribute to develop the contract of “CDI Apprenant” which allows young employees to experience different roles throughout their career, without changing contracts. More than a thousand talents were hired on this path in recent months. Through this model, young people outperform their peers by being provided with continuous learning opportunities. We have switched from “bottom-up” careers to a model of careers in every direction. It implies the need for the Adecco Group to work on offering more life-long training and concentrating on selecting soft skills which play a key role in management roles/positions.

To conclude, rewriting the rules for young careers is an opportunity to capture the desires of a new generation. It has to do with social impact. Young people want to know that they matter and that their work is making a difference. This sense of fulfillment is increasingly important when it comes to attracting the best talents. Candidates want to make a tangible difference and to be able to see how their specific work has an impact on their department, their company and wider society.

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Business and HR leaders can no longer operate according to old paradigms. We should together embrace new ways of thinking about our young talents, their social rules and their new expectations. We need to change fast, and there is too much to do. Only 11% of companies feel they excel at providing programmes for younger, older, or a multi-generational workforce[1].

The Adecco Group initiatives, analytics and industry insights help design and execute key HR changes through focusing on young people’s performance. We are aiming at creating new processes & organisational models such as innovation-based platforms like “Premiers jobs”, learning platforms and training sessions. With these we give life to our purpose, which is to make the future work inclusive for everyone.

[1] Deloitte University press, 2018.




Learn more as well about the OECD’s Power of Youth project and its initiatives to bring young people into the policy conversation.

Find out more about the OECD's Power of Youth project