There is a point to be made about rapid innovation. It is fast-paced, effective, and surprisingly efficient. New technologies are spurred into existence within the blink of an eye, and people jump the gravy train with smooth transition. It does not surprise us anymore, what technology does to us, how it impacts our day-to-day. But there are subtleties to everything positive, a sliver of how it affects the overall picture.
In this case, we take a moment to talk about the younger generation - primarily millennials, and to a lesser degree, Generation Z. It is about time we talked about it, the transitionary phase between phasing away the older generation while summoning younger soldiers. Organizations have changed to welcome them, with a variety of new and smart strategies set to identify the highest of potentials amongst the lot. But as was previously mentioned, perhaps there's more to it than meets the eye.
Object of Discussion: Millennials
According to Morgan Stanley, there are roughly 400 million millennials in the Indian sub-continent. They are growing and are set to become the driving force for the country. Some experts liken Indian millennials amongst the strongest sources of untapped economic potential. Simply put, our new generation is more connected to the world, better connected to information, and better educated even.
How are they so vastly different from their predecessors? Well, some attest to easy accessibility to the internet, the flow of information as they call it. Others cite the increase in disposable income within the middle-classes of India, enabling millennials access to more resources, at a faster pace.
"A graduating class is more likely to step into a professional world with vague technologies than what was taught within the confines of the curriculum"
For example, India's GDP held an estimated value of $2.2 trillion in 2017, with a per capita value of $1,700. While this ranks far below other emerging markets, such as Brazil or China, there are projections that mark a remarkable growth within the GDP to $5 trillion, with a per capita value of $3,650, by 2025. All of this, in an eight-year span, and with millennials at the helm of the ship.
Are Millennials Bad for Us?
Short answer is, no. But that depends on how we play our cards. Firstly, millennials do not make bad employees. Look at some of the biggest organizations worldwide, and you would find an innovative millennial captaining a ship of seasoned veterans. It is very, very unsurprising. But what most organizations fail to understand, despite it being 2018, is that the succeeding workforce is inherently different. In simpler terms, Generation X, or older still ï¿½ the Baby Boomers, do not function as millennials do.
With the smartphone era, human beings have dropped to an attention-span assessment of less than nine seconds; for the sake of perspective, it is lower than that of a goldfish. Millennials require instant-gratification; they are meritorious, they do not understand office politics, they do not grind. Give them a problem and a solution, they are more likely to come up with a more efficient solution to the same problem. They are rebellious and earnest; that is the future workforce worldwide and for India as well ï¿½ millennials.
Here are a couple of reasons as to why millennials are garnering a bad reputation through no fault of their own:
1. Soul Searching for a Purpose
A paycheck is meant to help the family, help you progress and rise in the socio-economic food-chain. But millennials are less concerned about the monetary aspects of a job; it does matter, of course, but not as much as it would have for their predecessors. Millennials look at the heart and soul of an organization, their core values, CSR initiatives, and more. They would rather work for an organization with good moral values for a lower paycheck than one focused solely on business agendas with CSR as an afterthought.
2. Value Metrics
Somethings are better displayed than left to imagination. Millennials are hard workers but lose motivation frequently. They want to see their work play a role in the bigger picture and want to be told as such. It is not enough for a millennial to simply feel as if they're valued, they need the gratification of knowing it.
3. Work-Life Balance
Yes. Work-life balance is important. Millennials are strong believers of enriching their post-work lifestyle. While they do desire enrichment within organizational walls, it pales in comparison to what the world has to offer. They love flexibility and believe in efficiency. Why work for nine hours, if you're finishing your daily tasks in five? That's the millennial through process. Give them a five-hour work day, and you'll find millennials blitz through work both qualitatively and quantitatively. Work from anywhere, and some other perks of flexibility hits home with the millennials.
While addressed in the points above, it does deserve its own category. This is more of a measuring stick than anything else. Brands don't matter as much; if a millennial doesn't feel adequately paid for what he or she is worth, you better believe they're heading somewhere that does. It's as simple as that.
Think these things over when you assume that a millennial workforce is prone to high turnover, or if there's foreshadowing of a lack of motivation. It's not always the millennials' fault; not always. And it's up to the organization to bridge the gap more than anything.
Concluding with the Education System
This was important; specially to highlight the need for industry experts and organizations to bridge the gap with millennials. Graduating classes on a normal scale lack the necessary skills to immediately transition into effectiveness in a new job role.
There are 3,289 colleges in India with roughly 1.55 million open seats. This should be indicative of a talent nest, something organizations yearn for; and yet, the lack of a skill-based education system propels no more than a fraction of the overall graduating class to be fit for immediate consideration in terms of real-world skills for core engineering or software-based job roles.
This is only bound to worsen, given a fluid market and rapidly fluctuating technology needs. A graduating class is more likely to step into a professional world with vague technologies than what was taught within the confines of the curriculum. Take some of technologies expected to become mainstream around 2020 and compare it to the landscape from four or five years ago. Different.
For example, there's a demand for Computer Vision Engineers, ML or AI analysts, cybersecurity experts, developers, and network analysists among many others. But a talent gap exists nonetheless, the kind that prevents easy transition between the graduating student and the employer. This is, in large, attributed to a college's inability to refresh the curriculum at regular intervals, or even on an annual basis. Again, students could also be benefitted more via hands-on training programs.
A study by Hindustan Times cited that both millennials and their Generation Z counterparts felt a little out of depth during their first few years in employment. A deficit of industry linkages, inadequate career guidance, and a general lack of practical experience comes to mind when thinking about the state of employment in our country today.
In fact, merely 26 percent of those surveyed identified prior education to have played a significant role in their interviews and employment. Furthermore, 74 percent of the surveyed students find their curriculum severely outdated.
These are things to look at. The industry needs innovation and out-of-the-box thinkers. It is up to us to identify how best to implement that growth from an early age. Quid pro quo, as they call it.When we step our game into relevance, you better bet that we will be in place for a faster burst of innovation and technology than in current occurrence. It is simple. We cannot do it without a workforce.
Naganagouda S J
With an outlook to empower corporations, Naganagouda, Associate Vice president and Head of Human Resource, has made it his mission to enrich the organizational talent pool. A seasoned HR professional, Naganagouda's understanding of the role of people in the corporate ecosystem has helped many establishments identify the right talent. Under his leadership, many premier businesses have grown exponentially over the years.