Recruiting young workers

Young workers are contending with low wages, insecure jobs and no voice at work. They need trade unions more than ever.

And recruiting them to our movement should be one of the key priorities of trade unions.

Yet young workers are less likely to join unions than previous generations – just 4% of union members are aged 16 to 24.

So how can we recruit young workers? Here’s some tips and materials to help.

Firstly, whilst we talk about ‘young workers’, the term shouldn’t be used in conversations of materials as they do not think of themselves as young, and it can seem patronising if used on leaflets etc.

Face to face still works

Nothing ever beats a face to face conversation. However, it is worth bearing in mind that most young people don’t even know what trade unions are. As Fraces O’Grady has said though, it does not mean they do not share our values or that a union would not benefit their lives. It’s about reaching out to show how we are relevant to their lives.

Order our postcards for young workers. They frame UNSION is way that is relevant to the issues younger workers face.


Go digital

Many people spend a lot of time staring at their phones these days, but remember a lot of young workers have grown up with the internet, so digital is especially important for this group. Does your branch have busy social channels and an up to date website? Your region may be able to help or offer training if you’re struggling with this.

On our Young Members page, you’ll find some graphics you can use on your social media channels:

Our Youtube channel has a huge collection of videos which you can post or use to publicise related things you have done –

Campaigns and news can help

Sometimes it may be hard to go straight in and ask someone who doesn’t even know what a union is to join. But you can slowly feed them content that shows the impact we make. Use our campaigns and our news section for this.

What better than the #OneWageAnyAge campaign! This is run by UNISON’s young members and is specifically about one of the key issues facing young workers – low pay. What better organising tool.

Young Members Charter

In November we’re launching our young members charter. This will be an important tool to use our relationship with employers to make change workplace by workplace. And it’s a great tool to show young people we’re out there doing stuff to improve their lives. Watch this space

Keep up to date

Keep up to date with new organising methods on our UNISON Digital blog and the TUC’s Digital blog.