New platform gives firms access to thousands of student workers

As job vacancies continue to plague UK companies, a new platform will allow firms to access an army of 275,000 of student job seekers.

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UniTaskr, the Startups 100 listed company that lets users hire young people for gig work, is launching a new function to help companies recruit from over 275,000 student workers.

The platform’s new ‘PRO’ function allows companies to hire interns, part time or full-time student applicants for jobs ranging from social media executives, to product testing and customer service.

According to the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures, in the three months leading to February 2023, the number of job vacancies was 1,124,000. That is a 41% increase on the same period last year.

The app claims that UniTaskr PRO will help to solve the UK’s labour shortage, at the same time as enabling students to build up their CV with real-world work experience.

Widened Gen Z talent pool spells success for startups

Exploring every hiring avenue is especially important for today’s business owners, whose growth plans have been torpedoed by the ongoing ‘Great Resignation’. Mass quittings have led to high staff turnover across every sector.

Last month, the Skills Horizon barometer asked 1,250 SMEs about their challenges in the year ahead. 40% said that not being able to recruit new employees with the right skills was their biggest concern.

As a result, more employers have been turning to alternative talent sources including hiring from abroad and even recruiting ex-offenders. Both options come with added visa fees and admin time, respectively.

UniTaskr says it is providing a cost-effective alternative to professional or agency recruitment for business owners by giving them direct access to fresh, Gen Z talent.

As Joseph Black, cofounder of UniTaskr explains, “businesses want to hire top grade talent but can’t afford large recruitment fees or sky high salaries.

“By recruiting ambitious students and graduates [business owners] are not only mobilising this workforce, but can plug gaps in their own resources, and build strong teams plucked from the best higher education institutions in the country.”

Screenshot showing the UniTaskr PRO platform on mobile and desktop

The UniTaskr PRO platform on mobile and desktop

Why the iGeneration is best-placed to solve the digital skills gap

Digital skills were posited as particularly in demand in the Skills Horizon report. The so-called ‘Generation Zoom’ tends to be more computer literate than older colleagues, as the generation that grew up alongside the internet.

More than 70% of higher education colleges are now represented on the UniTaskr app, supplying a wealth of young, tech-savvy talent for small businesses to capitalise on.

It is reportedly also onboarding 1,000 new students per day to learn sought-after skills for modern organisations like social media management and data analytics.

Currently, any user can post tasks on the UniTaskr platform for free, for one week.. However, the PRO and PRO + subscriptions memberships means businesses can also post full-time and part-time jobs to engage with more potential student workers.

Recent findings by Fiverr show that 71% of Gen Z want to go freelance. UniTaskr PRO’s subscription model might also encourage young seekers to engage in long-term employment and improve overall workforce participation levels.

Supporting UK graduates hit hard by cost of living crisis

As well as improving business budgets, upskilling university students will also help to improve young peoples’ career prospects. These have been significantly worsened by record-high inflation, which has caused real wages to fall by 3.2% since November 2022.

Earlier this month, Startups published findings that graduate workers in the UK now expect to earn just over £5,000 more than the average starting salary of £25,000.

“Seeking a job after university is highly competitive. An abundance of students expect to land a job within a field where they may have little to no experience,” adds Black, who was inspired to launch UniTaskr after seeing friends leave university due to poor finances.

Unlike other graduate networks, UniTaskr works with students from the ages of 16 and up. It says this gives young people more time to build relevant experience and gain financial independence around their studies.

Since launching in 2019, the platform claims to have supported its student user base in accessing more than £6.5 million of work, including nano-influencing.

Black elaborates, “in the past, working as a student meant unsociable hours doing bar work for little money. Now, students can be connected to major companies and gain sector-specific experience that can put them on the path to the career they want, without compromising their studies.”

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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