Young people and businesses: not that a disruptive view

A few weeks ago Jam Trends published a study on the relationship between young people and business, entitled “What businesses (still) have to offer young people” (in French). We can read almost everywhere that they are disillusioned, no longer believe in the company, and have even cultivated a certain mistrust towards it. It is interesting to read what they themselves say about it because, as I often say, a lot is said about them in their place, people talk in their place a lot, they instrumentalize them but in the end they are hardly listened to.

Figures that may worry

A Job Teaser study in 2019 told us that 62% of them did not want to work for a large company, that 52% did not see themselves staying in the same company all their lives or that only 35% dreamed of a permanent contract.

Worrying numbers at first glance? I don’t think so. Certainly, looking at them with an “old person’s” eyes and comparing them to what we, at their age, would expect, we might think so. But times have changed.

At the time, the big company was almost the only choice, startups were not very developed. The fact that one will not make a career in the same company has, I think, been acquired for at least 20 years and as far as permanent contracts are concerned, it is simply a pragmatic view of the world of employment, which makes me say that they are more pragmatic than challenging.

But now let’s look at what the Jam Trends study tells us about young French people aged 15 to 25.

Startups are not that popular

Only 20% see themselves working for a large company but more surprisingly 8% for a startup. This shows that the career opportunities offered outweigh the innovation. Even working for yourself is more attractive than working for a startup (13%). The big winners are the public sector and small, intermediate and medium sized companies with 22% each.

Of course the landscape has changed since the early 2000s but we can’t really talk about a revolution.

Not really disruptive expectations

As for the ideal job offer, it must be for an exciting job (or related to their passion), the salary must be posted (good luck…) and fair, the colleagues and the work environment must be nice, it must demonstrate values that the candidates share and private life must be preserved.

Again nothing really surprising, no matter the generation I’ve never seen anyone looking for a job without interest, badly paid and with unpleasant colleagues. Perhaps the values dimension has progressed anyway, we were less careful before, to the benefit of the company’s prestige and the careers offered.

A call for integration

Young people really want to feel that they are part of something, that they are not just one of many employees.

Their demands: a caring work environment, friendliness and the feeling that they are on a trajectory.

Results that wring the individualistic label that is often attached to them. They seem to be in the “us” and perhaps more than some who have gone before them.

The desire to learn

Another characteristic that is theirs is the importance they attach to learning. Logical but not new: it’s been more than 20 years since we realized that what we learn in school won’t help us much further than our first job, and that if we don’t learn new skills or even new jobs it can be problematic.

So they give a lot of importance to soft skills (an area where I find that companies are very shy in terms of training), mentoring, more bridges between companies and schools (here I find severe for large companies but realistic for small, intermediate and medium sized companies), they want to be empowered and trusted by their managers.

Social responsibility: no bullshit

Of course, this is a field on which this generation is specifically expected to focus. For 29% of them, it is up to companies to act first for the environment, which, unsurprisingly, is their primary concern

They seem to be more in need of concrete action, however small, rather than big speeches that do not lead to anything. More surprisingly (time will tell whether they are right or not) they no longer believe in innovation to make things better.

Young people, old people

This is a very interesting study that I recommend that you read because it makes a rather lucid and less dramatic statement than what we read here and there and gives companies good leads to talk to this population.

However, we can now also ask ourselves a question: I strongly believe that these expectations are not so much the characteristic of a generation but of an era. Ask the same questions to people in their 40s or 50s and I’m not sure that the answers are very different.

Photo : Millenials by View Apart via Shutterstock

Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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