New demands on the younger workforce

2015-10-05 12:42
David Molapo

David Molapo

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There’s a whole new world out there – and it’s powered by technology, fuelled by information and driven by knowledge.

And so is our increasingly younger workforce and its future employers. Are they ready for the new opportunities the new century has brought?

Several factors are preventing young people from taking advantage of the new opportunities that accompany the demand for highly skilled labour.

These include that the education system is failing them, as are fly-by-night colleges that take advantage of them, and leave them financially and educationally poorer. Added to this is a shortage of soft workplace skills and a lack of even the most basic knowledge on conducting life in a formal work environment.

For employers, there is an additional challenge: skilled young people of the millennial generation want a fun and social workplace. They are also light on loyalty – not invested in working for a particular employer – and move to wherever they can get the best deal.

People with much-needed skills are becoming more difficult to retain.

This poses a sizeable challenge for business because by 2020, millennials will comprise 56% of the workforce.

The demographics of the traditional workforce are changing and there will be a rise of new talent in emerging markets, a higher percentage of young women in universities and a greater percentage of the private sector workforce employed by entrepreneurial ventures.

An increasing amount of global business is being done online and e-commerce revenue has hit $1 trillion (R13.8 trillion), and is growing.

In the higher education space, the number of corporate universities has surpassed the number of traditional ones.

So what do our children need to do to crack the working world of tomorrow? The answer is they have to develop many more skills in the future.

Besides information management and technical skills, they need to have mastered the art of diversity management and teamwork, allowing them to collaborate and innovate with others in the new global workplace for which they need a global perspective. They need to be able to write, and be adept at public speaking, analysis and research.

The 21st-century workplace will also demand skills in organising and coordinating, quantitative reasoning, adaptability and flexibility, which they need to have to cope with its frenetic pace and constant change.

Crucially, they will need the people and interpersonal communication skills of old – values and ethical behaviour are as important in business today as they were in the past.

Above all, they will need to master a good work-life balance because life is to be lived – and not all of it at work.

. Molapo is an MC and motivational speaker

Read more on:    employment  |  skills development

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