New Bridgespan Group Study Sheds Light on Opportunities to Meet Employers’ Needs

05/26/2015 |


Employers cite difficulty ‘finding the right match’ as most common challenge 
BOSTON, MA—May 26, 2015—The Bridgespan Group and Bain & Company, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, today announced the publication of Youth Hold the Key: Building Your Workforce Today and in the Future.
The paper asks the provocative question: What would happen if all the workers in your company under the age of 25 suddenly vanished, and provides concrete suggestions for actions employers can take on their own and in partnership with others as they build their workforce today and prepare for the future.
According to Willa Seldon, Bridgespan Partner and co-author of the paper, “Despite efforts by individual employers to hire young people, whether because of business need or corporate social responsibility, these efforts are not achieving the scale needed to address employer workforce needs nor the ambitions of our youth.”
The paper’s data and research findings are based on a recent survey of 350 employers, more than 80 interviews with employers and workforce experts conducted during 2014 by The Bridgespan Group and Bain & Company, as well as a review of published literature. While recognizing the many benefits of hiring youth for entry-level jobs such as their tech savvy and potential as a future customer base, employers cited difficulty finding the right match for the position as being the number one barrier.
Added Abigail Carlton, a co-author and associate director at The Rockefeller Foundation, “Creating the right match for employers and youth at scale will require building on existing models that are working, such as CVS and State Street, and pursuing new hiring approaches. Some current practices may get in the way of employers identifying and benefitting from youth potential.”
The research quotes senior executives describing ways that they are shifting their practices to attract and retain youth. According to Vikki Tam, a partner from Bain & Company, who also co-authored the paper, “Companies need to approach youth hiring initiatives—which may have started as philanthropic or corporate social responsibility investments—as part of their workforce strategy and integrate them more closely with core business operations.” Other organizations’ efforts highlighted in the study include Gap Inc., Starbucks, which is including its supply chain network in the effort, and the City of Albuquerque.
“What’s needed now,” said Seldon, “is for employers to learn from youth hiring and retention efforts that are working, to build internal capabilities that can grow over time, and to develop strong partnerships with nonprofits, government, and for-profit businesses that are innovating and creating strong links to youth and the supports they need to succeed.”
 About The Bridgespan Group
The Bridgespan Group ( is a nonprofit advisor and resource for mission-driven organizations and philanthropists. We collaborate with social sector leaders to help scale impact, build leadership, advance philanthropic effectiveness and accelerate learning. We work on issues related to society’s most important challenges and to break cycles of intergenerational poverty. Our services include strategy consulting, leadership development, philanthropy advising, and developing and sharing practical insights.
About Bain & Company
Bain & Company is the management consulting firm that the world's business leaders come to when they want results. Bain advises clients on strategy, operations, technology, organization, private equity and mergers and acquisition, developing practical insights that clients act on and transferring skills that make change stick.  The firm aligns its incentives with clients by linking its fees to their results.  Bain clients have outperformed the stock market 4 to 1. Founded in 1973, Bain has 51 offices in 33 countries, and its deep expertise and client roster cross every industry and economic sector. For more information visit:  Follow us on Twitter @BainAlerts.
About The Rockefeller Foundation
For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas – advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities – to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot – or will not. To learn more, please visit
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