The Guest Blog

Guest blogpost by Soulaima Gourani is a member of Europe’s “40 under 40” club of thinkers, a member of the “Nordic Thinkers 20”, an author and blogger (full profile on LinkedIn).

Youth unemployment remains a major issue in most EU countries.

Eurostat estimates that 26.231 million men and women were unemployed in January 2014. It’s a big issue. And lots of young people are among these numbers.

Youth unemployment rates are generally much higher than unemployment rates for all ages. But why? Don’t we need their skills? I can see that companies often simply don’t understand their attitudes and behaviors. They see them as lazy brats.

These years, many fresh and promising young people are entering the job market, but the integration of these new graduates into the workforce is not going all that well! So even if they manage to get a job they don’t feel they use their skills. Lots of energy is wasted.

We need all generations to work side by side. In 2020 we will be more than 5 generations working side by side.

It is common knowledge is that “Baby Boomers” changed politics (EU), Gen X changed family and how we look at work/life balance and Gen Y (early 1980?s to late 1990?s) changed the way we look at work, however the next generation Gen Z (late 1990?s) will change our education system… and thereby the way we look at skills.

Growth, survive or die

Solid companies, the pillars of the EU society we live in, seem to hold out for not much longer than an aver-age of 40 years. But why?

Companies die because their managers focus on the economic activity of producing goods and services, and they forget that their organizations’ true nature is innovation. Young people can give companies that new innovation they need.

Will your company survive or die within the next five years?

What strengths or talents do you have that will appeal to the next generation?

Those are important questions in the battle for the very scarce resources five years ahead.

Actually, many young people in high schools and universities give me the feedback that they feel frustrated about their future career. They say that their competences are not utilized at work and that a lot of talent is being wasted.

They feel that they don’t earn the professional respect that they deserve because they don’t have a certificate to document their competences and because they don’t have a lot of experience. Their boundless energy and positive attitude are being overlooked.

Is eight to ten years’ experience with IT, media, and online social networking not a competence?

As I see it, a young person must possess three key competences to be able to help companies into a new era:

  • Language and understanding of different cultures
  • IT and multimedia competences
  • Social networking and emotional intelligence (that stimulate collaboration)

I attend numerous meetings with managers all over the world, and I have to say that I meet many people who look completely burnt-out—particularly when you are sitting in your car on the way to a job that you don’t really like and where you work for a management that you don’t even like.

We hope that gen Y and Z will be the last generation that chooses to live such an undignified life. The new generations do not want to live like that.

Generations Y and Z do not want to just have a job.

Even that fact that Gen Z witness parental unemployment, they don’t just want a job.

  • They want to create jobs—new jobs that do not exist today!
  • They want companies to be more innovation, brave and open- minded to new way to do business.

However I hope that entrepreneurship education at schools will be a clear EU priority since when Gen Z comes along, they will have no choice but to do that or weather an unstable workplace based on project short termed employment.

I don’t think many of them will attempt the corporate career ladder. They will be the ones to find out a way to turn technology into viable business models. They are the ones who will change Europe.

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