Why don’t the youth possess the soft skills needed for today’s jobs?

Nowadays, a lot of jobs are available for graduates to be employed and to earn a fair amount of income. However, it is believed that the youth is facing joblessness not because there is a lack of jobs out there, but because they do not have the right skills for the jobs they apply for. Here are 3 reasons why.

 

1)   Little or no focus on building and learning new skills:

A lot of graduates focus too much on the academic and neglect building up on their authentic selves. They have been told from their parents to go to school, middle school and high school with the aim of reaching the highest grades : the famous A+. Teenagers are pressured into going to university or college right after they finish with their schooling, so as to have a tertiary education. Then on, they are compelled to look for full-time jobs with their degrees. This extreme focus on academic results and the lack of time and effort put into building the right skillsets they need to be employable is actually what denies the youth of a well-paid job by a potential employee.

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2)         Modules need to be reviewed by universities:

Gaps in formal education are also another reason for why the youth are not prepared for work. According to Fraser Nelson, students are “egged on by teachers (and government ministers) who say that a university degree is always worth it; perhaps true a generation ago, but not anymore” (The Telegraph, 2016). Universities have been charging a lot of money out of students, though they do not frequently review their syllabuses. Hence ‘useless’ modules are being taught to students year after year, with the growing lack of the necessary soft skills needed for these future graduates to kick start their careers. If universities partnered with companies and the government to change what’s being taught once every two years, and to instill important skills into future degree holders, the job market would not have been such an unnerving zone.


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3)   Working experience is highly needed from graduates:

More than academic results, experience is much needed in the workplace. Many graduates have never had a job before their university lives. Because employers look for past work experiences in students, the large majority of graduates keep waiting in the dark for this super important call to confirm if they got the job they applied for, or if they still need to go hunting. The Bureau of Labor Statistics report that in 2016, prior work experience was required for 47.8 percent of all jobs, while a bachelor’s degree was required in 17.5 percent of jobs. The necessity of working experience has outgrown the need for a degree, or a diploma during the last decade. If graduates want to have a full-time job right after their degree, they absolutely need to work on their soft skills by being on the lookout for job experiences.

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Written by Aamirah Mohangee,
Mauritius.

Leadership skills – the missing piece for youth employment?

Universities teach a lot about hard skills and theories, but when it comes to being able to implement the learnings in practice, a lot of young people find it difficult. This has also been noticed by many employers who say that young people are missing the soft skills needed in a professional environment. It is important that young people know how to manage time correctly, communicate effectively in different environments, and can get through challenges when facing them. But if universities are not equipping young people with these skills, they need to search elsewhere for the experience.

At AIESEC we have noticed the need of better leaders in the world and believe that leadership can be developed in anyone. AIESEC’s unique leadership development model seeks to prepare youth to take a stand on what they care about and become capable of making a difference through their everyday actions. We believe that by equipping young people with these leadership skills, they will be more prepared for the future. All our products develop four leadership qualities that are related to current world trends. These qualities are self-awareness, world citizen, empowering others, and solution oriented. Below you can read how these leadership qualities are relevant professionally for young people.

  1. Self-awareness

The declining need for formal leaders has brought about the need for more self-aware leaders. A self-aware leader knows what they are good at, what is important to them and what they are passionate about. When young people know themselves they are able to make better decisions for their careers as well. The youth of today want to work for a company that shares the same values as them and that does something good for the world. Being aware of their own values and passions helps them choose this kind of organisation and this increases employee retention. In addition, a self-aware leader focuses on their strengths over weaknesses, making them more ready to take on new challenges at work, not letting their weaknesses slow them down.

  1. World citizen

With globalisation, the business world has less and fewer borders. However, globalisation has also brought growing nationalisation in many countries. This is why being a world citizen is an increasingly important skill to have in the working life. Being interested in the world issues and especially taking responsibility for improving the world are essential to do business in a globalised world. AIESEC gives young people the opportunity to challenge themselves in another country. They are able to learn about the people and culture of that country making them more equipped to work with people from different backgrounds. This doesn’t only apply to an international workplace, but any job where there is a need for teamwork and interacting with other people.

  1. Empowering others

The quality of empowering others is needed to navigate the complex and interconnected modern world. Communication skills are vital for any relationships to work, so young people need to be able to communicate effectively in diverse environments to get their point clearly across and avoid any chances of misunderstanding. It’s also important that young people know how to collaborate with other people to achieve a bigger purpose. Lastly, by developing the skill of empowering others, young people will be able to contribute to the personal development of others and empower them to take action. This means that they can empower their co-workers to reach higher and challenge themselves.

  1. Solution oriented

The fast pace of the modern world also makes it a more uncertain place, and young people need to be prepared for change. Instead of being frozen in the face of a challenge, young people should show resilience and be flexible. The uncertainty of constant changes might seem frightening, but by staying positive, a young leader can steer their team forward despite the uncertainty they might face. This calls for the willingness to take risks when they are needed. This quality is very important in a working environment, as you can never know what changes might happen the next day economically or politically. A solution-oriented leader does not let failures hold them back, but gets up and continues to fight towards what they are aiming for.

We believe that if we develop these four qualities in young people, it will make them ready to face the challenges the world has in front of them. They will also be able to turn the theories and knowledge they have learnt at university into practice, making them more employable in the long run.

– Written by Alexandra Byskata

The Skills of 2020 and Changing Leadership

The societies we live in today are vastly different from what they were twenty, or even ten, years ago. The pace of the world is increasing exponentially, due to technology and its effects on the daily life of human beings. The most prevalent of these effects is no doubt the capacity for global connection.

TIME Magazine recently published an article with an infographic detailing the projected ten most important work skills required for the workplace in the year 2020 — which alarmingly, is only a little over five years away. Five years might feel a long way away for now, but in today’s fast-paced society, time flies.

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Success lies in preparation, and so we must ask ourselves, what does this mean for today’s skills training and how we can keep up for 2020?

What may set the individual or leader apart is the ability to adapt and innovate, a keenness for learning, and zero tolerance for complacency.

There are a number of things expected to change by 2020, including increased longevity (longer life spans), the heightened role that technology and computation will play in our personal and professional lives, and intensified globalization. Simply put, the world is finding ways to do things better and to get more out of it. If we are optimistic, we can expect to live in an “improved” society by 2020.

For leaders, however, it is important to realize that this improvement begins right now at this moment, not five years later. When the skills of 2020 demands people to own a wider sense of social intelligence, computational thinking, cross cultural competency. In addition, it requires leaders to be capable of new media literacy, virtual collaboration, and transdisciplinary work — the learning curve begins now.

Those we deem worthy of leadership are those who are “one step ahead”, and who are “leading the way”. They are the ones who are willing to take risks and able to adapt to change, and in doing so, become role models for those who wish to follow.

Leaders in today’s world must have a solid knowledge of both the past and a future, and secure understanding of where they themselves fit in between or bridge the gap. The world is expanding, and people need to grow along with it — as the world becomes better, so must we.

Here at AIESEC, we also wanted to identify some of the top skills young people were wanting to develop today, and our YouthSpeak survey with 25,000 millennial respondents showed that leadership / team management, new languages, critical thinking and problem solving skills were still the most in-demand to help them get ahead over the next few years.

The skills you need today versus in the future are rapidly changing. Are you prepared for the skills of 2020?

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