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Family business: Should you give your kids a job?

4 Mins

The appointment of James Caan as the government’s new Social Mobility tsar has opened a whole can of worms regarding employing your children.

I completely agree with James’s comments that children need to stand on their own two feet. Parents shouldn’t help their kids find a job until the child has tried everything themselves.

Unfortunately for James, his views have brought into question the appointment of his daughters Hanah and Jemma to businesses he is involved with.

Certain areas of the media were quick to jump on the claims of nepotism, but I don’t see any problem giving your kids a job – as long as they can do the role to the level you’d expect from any other employee.

There are always stories about certain industries that you can’t get into unless you know someone who knows someone, or are related to a senior person with hiring powers. But family businesses should never be tarred with the same brush.

I’m proud to say I run a family business. Family businesses have been a cornerstone of British enterprise for generations and the shared values and drives of relatives can be a spur to commercial success. Therefore, I’m proud to say that relatives of mine are employed at Pimlico Plumbers.

My business wouldn’t be the success it has become if it was just a Mullins family club. But it also wouldn’t have become the business it has without the hard work and commitment of those who share the Mullins name along with all our other trusted employees.

You only have to look at my Operations Director-son, Scott as the perfect example. He makes the business hum like the engine of a finely-tuned sports car. There is no one out there who can do the job like him and that’s why he’s in the position he’s in.

When I first started my family, I knew that having a successful business would provide security for them all and I have no problem giving them jobs as part of that. However, I’m not going to employ a child of mine in a senior role just for the sake of it; that would be madness. But I’d encourage them to be part of my business in a role that suits them, whatever their skills, so the contribution they can make to the company is more than valid.

Giving your children a job they are capable of doing in your business should not be frowned upon, although doing the leg work for them in the job market is another story altogether. If my kids don’t want to work for me, that’s fine; they can have my advice and support, but I can’t do the job for them.

It’s natural for parents to want to help their kids, but I would say there are parents who try too hard. I have vast numbers of mums and dads calling about apprenticeship places for their children every day. Personally, I believe if a young person actually wants an apprenticeship they should be calling themselves and my recruitment manager refuses to speak to any third party about an application.

After all, you can’t send your mum to a job interview on your behalf!

Charlie Mullins is founder and CEO of Pimlico Plumbers.

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