Millennials and Jobs
When I’m with my teenage daughter I remember that the millennials, as well as the younger generations prior to them, are not a homogenous group. There are some common features: we all know that wifi, access to Snapchat and of course a smartphone are a necessity for most millennials, including my daughter, but when it comes to discovering the motive that makes them behave in a certain way, and what is the right race for them, there is no equal strategy for everyone.
And yet, when I am in one of my usual events about employment, talent, and the world of work, I often get questions from young people about how they can prepare for the professional arena. It’s been a few years since I got my first job, but because we find jobs for thousands of people every day, I see some issues crop up again and again.
1. Learning ability is the way to professional safety
New technologies will require more and more specific skills for people and companies. Many people try to predict the future of the job: more jobs, different jobs, fewer jobs, and even no jobs. Few people write about how people will need new skills, and they will need them quickly, especially if they will be hired for jobs that we have not yet heard. In an environment where new skills emerge as soon as others become extinct, employability has less to do with knowledge than with ability to learn. By focusing on the capacity for learning – the desire and ability to adapt their skills to retain employment – millennials are redefining the concept of professional safety.
Employers must also pay attention: 93% of young people want to develop their skills continuously, and four out of five say that the opportunity to learn a new skill is a key factor when considering a new job. It is important to create a culture of learning because what works for them also works for the rest of the workers.
2. Improving for an equal future
Looking ahead, we know where we will see growth and which groups are underrepresented. This impacts mainly on women, who make up half of the workforce. Architecture, engineering, information technology and mathematics are the sectors that expect growth. However, they are still dominated by men.
And this path is expected to continue. Today, women make up 18% of computer graduates, compared to 37% in the 1980s. We need to take more measures to eliminate obstacles for girls and women to study and work in high growth if we are to continue with the acceleration of gender equality in the workplace. Creativity, staff management, emotional intelligence and negotiation are also areas that will harness human potential and allow people to increase the number of robots, rather than being replaced by them. Companies will need to invest more in training and development to address today’s talent shortages and anticipate the demands of the future.
3. University or practical learning? Not as obvious as it seems
College is important, but what young people learn from it alone will not prepare them for a job. It is important to have practical work experience early. Students who have four or more contacts with employers during their training are more likely to find employment between the ages of 19 and 24 and five times less likely to become unemployed.
Many organizations continue to pay close attention to academic qualifications and technical skills, as if what initial level employees have learned in college will actually prepare them for today’s job market. Although learning ability drives academic achievement, that someone has successfully completed their studies and earns the academic title, it does not mean that they are ready for a job or have a learning ability. Discover your type of learning and whether at school, college or in a job, be sure to be interested. Talk to different people, expand your community, cross your neighborhood or even your country and look for new opportunities.
4. Purpose is important
Of course money is also important, and when young people get into a job, the impact of the first salary should not be underestimated. But it is important to enjoy what one does. We know millennials want to know that what they do is important. Eight out of ten millennials in Mexico, India and Brazil believe that working for employers who demonstrate social responsibility and who are aligned with their values is important. Virtually half of Generation Z even states that when choosing a job, working for a company that helps create a better world would be as important as the pay.
Employees who work for an organization that has goals and has a significant impact on the communities in which it operates are three times more likely to be hired than those who do not. Employers should express our responsibility to the communities in which we work.
As my father said, it does not matter what he decides to be in life. Today, that has never been so true. One life-long job is a fact of the past, and millenarians are likely to have many careers during their long working lives. The important thing is your desire to learn new things and if you make the right decisions in those first steps to define nice jobs and rewarding future.