by Wayne John
With over 600,000 career opportunities geared towards the younger workers in the U.S., there are many misperceptions that have to be addressed before these Generation X’s and Y’s consider working in our industry.
How is the recession changing young people’s views in their careers? The youth of today have never known what real job security is like. They only have to look close to home at their parents and extended families to learn the reality of how the last three years have affected many of us negatively.
We know all too well how difficult it is to get a ‘good’ job. When we eventually get one, we work very hard to retain the position; even going so far as to finding a way to protect it. We all know how brief and fleeting it may be. Unfortunately many people work every day with the fear of losing their job; but it is accepted as ‘normal’ because, that’s ‘just the way it is’. Bottom line is that if you’re not doing a good enough job, your employer will find someone else who will.
Lower wages and less-skilled workers are all factors in the problems that companies face now. The newer workers (<10 years in the workplace) are more apt to accept or compromise on lower-paying and often lower-level positions; even if they are outside of their original career plans and specialty. They have been told their entire lives that they can be ‘whatever they wanted to be’. Once they get into the job market, many dreams are squashed.
But all of that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good opportunities out there. TheU.S.has always been a magnet for skilled positions. Unfortunately younger folks aren’t stretching and challenging themselves. Many of them just don’t see the need for trying to reach their full potential now.
We need to accept the fact that younger workers will switch jobs more frequently than older ones did at their age. They need to find the right fits for them; and that’s also how they will start increasing their salaries. As written before, the ’40 years and a gold watch’ sentiment is long gone. An average of 11-15 jobs over a career span is reality; whether employers accept it or not.
These post-college workers are already skittish as to the current economic situation. They have seen firsthand that hard work, long hours, etc. no longer guarantees success. Because of this, they are more likely to view jobs with a lesser sense of loyalty.
Approaching these apprehensive workers takes some work. Some of the ideas below may allow us to find ways to engage them within our companies and cultures. If so, there is a greater chance that we can attract and retain them.
- Developing programs with the youth in mind is the first step. They are tech-savvy. We need to make sure that we have and use the latest technologies.
- Offering positions and projects that allow them to utilize these are a great way to involve them. They expect immediate answers and instant access.
- They want their opinions to matter; so ask them questions-in front of other people. This gives them the opportunity to share their knowledge and specialty.
- School wasn’t that long ago for these folks; so set deadlines and weekly or daily goals. This is a perfect way to motivate them. This is also a great way to satisfy their exceedingly short attention spans.
- Follow up with them often and ensure that they are still involved and absorbed in their tasks.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”- Maya Angelou. Endeavour to be someone a younger employee wants to work hard for and the chances that they will follow you will increase dramatically.
The writer, Wayne John, is CEO of Electrical Career Specialists, Inc. ECS is a specialized staffing and recruiting firm exclusive to the electrical wholesale distribution community. www.ecs.jobs, email@example.com, 888-474-4327.