A looming concern among millennials is that artificial intelligence could compromise their job prospects. And research conducted among 9,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 25 in nine industrialized and developing markets – Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, South Africa, and the United States – finds that a striking 40 percent of respondents think that a machine – some kind of AI – will replace their job in the next decade.
But despite this challenging future, our next generation of workers feels mostly positive about technology. They are interested and willing to learn the skills necessary to excel in the future workforce. For example, 39 percent of young people globally are interested in leaning how to build a mobile app, and 33 percent are interested in big data analytics and data science. So despite the latent fears, millennials are optimistic about their own future, where learning computer science skills and coding must become the norm.
Positive Past Meets Uncertain Future
Young people today are keenly aware that the impact of technology will be central to the way their careers and lives progress and differ from those of previous generations. An academic degree in computer science is seen as the best type of education for securing a job, with a strong interest in learning digital and analytic skills. Also, an understanding in technology trends, including data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning is of equal value.
Most young people expect that those who are more skilled in computer science disciplines are more likely to have successful careers. Because of this, the digital divide is still very real. Many think technology skills are unattainable, concerned they don’t possess the right skills, or the opportunities to acquire them.
Train to Retain
Despite this apprehension, young people are still positive about their current or past educational experiences. The vast majority globally (72 percent) found their academic experiences inspiring, yet significant numbers of young people across all markets question how well they’re equipped for their careers. As a result, millennials are looking to their employers to provide the training they didn’t receive in school, but will be necessary for the future.
But once these entry-level skills are mastered, employers fail to provide additional training for continued development. It’s crucial for organizations to provide not only educational, but personal development support for new workers as they enter the enterprise. It is mutually beneficial, as the training prepares employees with long-term growth and prevents job turnover.
For young people today, pursuing an entrepreneurial career path is seen as aspirational. Members of today’s younger generation are drawn to working for large or medium sized companies to hone their skills, especially around problem finding before embarking on the startup journey. On average, less than one in 10 want to work for a startup right out of school. Instead, they are initially looking for stable careers that can offer progression and on the job training, and they have associated those opportunities with larger, more established organizations.
While enterprise technologies advance and millennials are learning how to compete with them, they still are looking for the support and guidance to create longevity and satisfaction in their careers. The message from the next generation seems to be take us on the journey of AI, machine learning, and other advanced technologies. But it is one which technology leaders need to lead with plenty of guidance. That means continuing to educate young people, providing stability, and ensuring that we use technology to remove the mundane. We should also use these technologies to amplify the creativity and inquisitive nature only humans are capable of, and young people are enhancing with their tenacity and eagerness to learn.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi