Leveling the Playing Field – “How to Learn from the Generation Before and After Us.”

“After countless hours spent studying and hours of hard work put in college, my job is to make kids hold their pencils, teach them the difference between “b” and “d”, and make photocopies of their textbooks; and yet I cannot leave my job because there’s nothing else I am good at! So if you think I am blessed. You obviously know nothing.” – Anonymous millennial from Japan

After reading the above post, one can’t help but ask, “are things that much different for a majority of young adult professionals living in America today?”

The answer is unfortunately no, and in-between finding that dream job and earning a substantial salary, many of today’s millennials are instead facing a painful reality check. Rather than becoming an engineer for a top fortune 500 company, many young adult professionals are finding themselves engulfed within a whirl wind of jobs which seldom match their skills or qualifications. Top that with an older generation who is unwilling to train them and reluctant to retire any time soon, and you now have the perfect recipe for disaster.

According to the article written by Stephanie Armour of USA TODAY “there has never been a greater abundance of multigenerational and demographic change than in today’s workforce,” and as stated within Leslie Kwoh’s excerpt from the Wall Street Journal “it is estimated that Gen Y will comprise more than 40% of the U.S workforce by 2020, which according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, far outnumbers any other generation.”

Yet what does this all mean for today’s young adult professionals, and how does it affect them from moving up the corporate ladder? The answer is simple. Unless companies are willing to train young recruits they will never acquire the necessary skills and knowledge they need to get ahead. In reference again to Leslie Kwoh’s article it is estimated that, “the annual turnover rate among millennials has since fallen by 50% each year for the last two years.” and if that’s not enough, a survey found in Stephanie Armour’s article indicates “that more than 70% of older employers are dismissive of younger worker’s abilities, and nearly half of all employers claim that younger employees are dismissive of the abilities of their older co-workers.” With tensions rising and a lack of communication between the two generations, employers are growing more and more frustrated as they struggle to retain and recruit talented high-performers.

Today’s young professionals are ambitious, fast learners, and excellent innovators, but what keeps them from moving forward is not a lack of motivation but the limitations set by their fellow co-workers and employers. Many individuals within this group are eager to learn, share, and find stability within their careers, but with an unstable job market and colleagues who are thirsty to have them fired; earning ones keep is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Incidentally, the solution to this predicament remains at a standstill, and unless seasoned employees and employers accept that millennials are here to stay, everyone will suffer the consequences in the long run. The older generation will eventually retire and without training new recruiters companies will sustain high employment turnovers.

Young adult professionals are tech savvy, detail oriented, and are more than willing to share their methods with the people around them. Most have already begun to surpass the generation before them in terms of technological expertise and education, and are already paving the way for the next generation to follow. Yet unless elder employees adopt a new sense of tolerance for new recruits, employers and companies alike will continue to lose an immeasurable amount of talent within the next few years.

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