The FINANCIAL — On July 15 one of the world’s largest youth leadership development organisations AIESEC, released the results of its first YouthSpeak report on millennials worldwide. In partnership with PwC and with the support of the United Nations Millennium Campaign, MY World and United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, 42,257 millennials voiced their opinion about education, employment and entrepreneurship.
According to the report, millennials are increasingly worried about the widening gap between education and employment. Universities are not connected to their future goals and employers do not engage with them in a meaningful way. This also means that educators and employers who are making that strong connection with millennials stand out in the race for vital talent.
Worldwide, millennials say they are lacking career guidance and support that would help them understand what they need for the ideal post-graduation career. Education was also given a very poor NPS (Net Promoter Score) globally, with millennials rating their satisfaction with their university experience at -42.
Rebuilding trust and evolving the education system
Young people around the world are not satisfied with what they are getting out of their university experiences in connection to their future goals. With university advisors ranking last in the report’s list of influencers to support career decisions, there is a bigger story to be told surrounding the role of universities.
Gordon Ching, Global Vice President at AIESEC International: “We are looking at a world where young people can find more relevant and practical information online than at university. At a time where universities are still largely centred around formal learning, 68% of millennials prefer experiential learning.”
Disconnection between education and employment
For most millennials beyond technical backgrounds, their degrees have not given them the value they were looking for. 53% of millennials see a disconnection between what they are learning today versus what they will need tomorrow. But it is not just the educators who can bridge this gap.
One of the most important conclusions from the YouthSpeak survey is that students and employers have a vital role to play too. Gordon Ching: “If we are to develop an effective education system that meets student needs, it will need greater integration of youth opinion and more employer input. These inputs are critical to ensuring that curriculums are aligned with external trends and utilizing teaching methods like experiential learning that can better engage young people.”
Future leaders want to be entrepreneurs and hold responsibility
The YouthSpeak survey also looks at millennials’ approach to work. One of the conclusions is that the notion of working nine-to-five, earning a high salary and having extensive vacation time is outdated. It’s not so much about a work-life balance, but more about a work-lifestyle. Millennials seek global experiences as a highly valued method of learning and development. They need an environment in which they can constantly learn, grow and explore new opportunities.
Combined with the fact that 64.1% of YouthSpeak respondents state that they aspire to hold a leadership or senior decision maker position in the future, it serves as a reminder for employers of the ambitious nature of millennials and how they want to hold responsibility in their jobs. If they want to attract these future leaders, employers need to develop an entrepreneurial work culture and an environment where the office becomes a hub of creativity.
Companies without a purpose risk losing out
Another way to attract these talents is to recognise that millennials are a purposeful generation. Top keywords for the ideal workplace include creative, challenging, fun, global and dynamic. Millennials want to be inspired, to learn and to grow in and outside the workplace. They are strongly influenced by an organisation’s reputation and actions as a positive contributor to society. So how employers contribute to society in all aspects of their lives is important to them.
Gordon Ching: “An organisation’s ability to not only demonstrate a positive impact on society, but also communicate its purpose is critical for millennial talent. Millennials are concerned about an organisation’s actual performance, but equally important to them is whether an organisation lives up to its corporate values. Employers should bear this in mind when recruiting the next generation of people.”
PwC Vice Chairwoman and Global Human Capital Leader Nora Wu agrees: “We know from PwC’s NextGen study that for younger generations, finding meaning and purpose in their work is a top priority. Given what we’ve learned about the future workforce, at PwC we’re adapting our practices to recognise the diverse needs and generational differences of our people, so that they can bring their best self to work and inspire those around them. Clear, two-way communications are critical in providing them with a sense of purpose, and helping to build a more collective community globally, inside and outside the network of firms.”