What advice do you give a young graduate who is looking for a job? I don’t mean the usual advice or tips on how to make applications, attend assessment centers or job interviews. In fact, these individuals are not necessarily looking for “the kind of jobs” we were interested in 20 years ago neither are they looking in “the kind of ways” we did.
By now everyone has probably heard or read about the changing workforce dynamics. About how the Generation X and Y(and now even generation Z) individuals have a totally different attitude to work when compared with previous generation of workers, usually called Baby Boomers and, demand more from their employers. To be honest, even within the Generation Y, also called Millennials (which is defined as those born between 1980 to date), there are differences in work ethics and attitudes.
What I am talking about is, what do you tell this vibrant, vivacious, risk-loving, competitive and technology savvy youth who are about to enter the workforce. While you are thinking of your contact at a Telco or Bank, their constantly ticking minds are on another frequency entirely. Shouldn’t there be some ready-made answer, some ultimate wisdom to be delivered?
The three common situations that I have come across are those:
Looking for a career in a structured organisation.
These are the ones that are more like the previous generations, living up to the usual expectation (expectation of themselves, family or society?). You go to the University, get a good degree and you get employment with a good company. This happened to 99 percent of the generation X (those born between 1961 and 1980) individuals, which by the way is where I fall. They want to be part of a big picture and climb their way to the top gradually. Remuneration may not be fantastic as a rookie but you get to learn and pick up valuable skills and experience on the way up. They view their career as spanning the whole of the corporate world, not just the organisation they start with because they are ready to move from one to another but always at the next level.
Looking for a career in a small, less structured organisation.
These are the ones who are like the first group but desire faster career advancement and more pay right from the beginning. They want to work closely with the business owners, want to be involved in deals and decision making and to have big responsibilities early in their career. They prefer informal and flexible structures with perks and fringe benefits trickling in frequently. They believe in the vision of the business owner and see themselves in the driver’s seat one day
Looking to start own business.
These are the entrepreneurs who have a business idea, irrespective of how viable, and want to go out there and make it work. The passion and drive they have for this business is evident in the way their eyes light up when they talk about it. They live, breathe and dream this business idea.
I strongly believe there is no one answer that fits all. The truth is, less young school leavers are finding option 1 attractive these days, which isn’t surprising since this generation of workers typically challenge the norm. Some would go for option 1 as a stepping stone to option 2 or 3. Since many people have made tremendous success from each option and since one option does not shut the door on the others, the important thing as an advisor is to point out the risks and benefits inherent in each. Do not think for these youngsters and do not take the decision for them.
Nigeria, and indeed the world, is a fertile ground for almost anything these days. Technology has also opened up business opportunities that were not available to previous generation of workers and it will be a shame to jettison business ideas based on technology leverage. I asked my “Think Tank” about this and his opinion was that everyone cannot be an employee like in years past and no one should be conscripted to working solely for others, building their dreams and not having your own.
What do you think? I would sure like to get your comments