When I first met Nicolas Lombard, with whom I founded JobTeaser more than ten years ago, we were working at the same consulting firm. Consulting is associated with a number of things: a high degree of variety on the job, a steep learning curve, continuing personal development, high salaries, international travel…so you could say it’s no surprise that a lot of graduates from top-ranking schools all over the world aspire to break into that world.
But when we really tried to drill down into why exactly we chose that path, neither Nicolas nor I could come up with a good enough answer.
Today, we realise that, back then, we were simply following a predetermined path - functioning on autopilot mode, if you like. And our choice of final destination was neither clear nor particularly well thought-out.
We’re far from being the only ones in this situation. Even today, many young people - from all walks of life - continue to make their career choices by default.
The key difference today is that the world is changing at an unparalleled rate and scale. Young people today are faced with increasingly complex choices, including an explosion of different careers, industries and a whole set of new skills required to succeed.
If young people continue making their choices by default, I see two possible outcomes. In the best-case scenario, we create a generation of career switchers, a phenomenon that we’re already starting to see in society today, and in the worst case, we create a society of ‘autopilots’ founded on total disillusionment!
To find out what the young people themselves think, we launched a European study in partnership with WISE and IPSOS. And some of the results particularly stood out to us.
Although they’re optimistic, young people don’t feel prepared to enter the world of work
Faced with the future of work, 78% of young people today say they’re optimistic (yes, even the French, who come in last place at 72%). They show the most enthusiasm for technological progress, more flexible working methods, as well as the values that will characterise the workplace of tomorrow.
Nevertheless, these young people remain realistic. Just 1 in 2 students and recent graduates feel prepared to enter the job market today. We suspected as much, which is why we launched JobTeaser back in 2008 to help young people understand the world of work. At the time, we created a video platform to allow companies to present their careers to young people.
A few years down the line, and to better serve our students and recent graduates, we decided to revamp this model. We integrated our service on the Intranet sites of our partner universities, allowing students to access job ads, careers events, articles, videos and other content specifically designed to help them better understand the realities of the world of work. But, today, the needs of young people continue to grow.
To support young people better, we need to develop a universal career journey
Almost 9 out of 10 young people want to be better supported when it comes to careers guidance today. That’s why we recently opened a Research & Innovation department at JobTeaser, led by Jérémy Lamri. In response to the call from our young people today, and in partnership with schools, universities and companies, we want to transform career guidance. The first step will be to introduce a universal careers pathway, which will help young people get to know themselves better (through psychometric tests for example), develop their skills (through games or project based learning) and find job opportunities that are a good fit for them.
The new generation will need to embark on this career journey more than once. Today - and even more so tomorrow - finding your place in society is an increasingly iterative process. Indeed, we no longer just prepare for the world of work once when leaving university. In a world where young people will have 4 jobs before they turn 32 we need to be ready to revisit our career choices ourselves and make new ones throughout our lives.
Supporting young people can’t be done without an active and committed ecosystem in place
According to our survey, young people, education stakeholders and companies alike all believe that it’s up to universities to prepare today’s generation for their first step on the career ladder. At JobTeaser, we are convinced that this is actually a shared responsibility. The opposite would be absurd - how could we even begin to prepare young people for their future careers without knowing exactly what awaits them?
Our solution means we can work hand in hand with the three groups of stakeholders we consider responsible for preparing for the future: 2 million students and recent graduates, 60,000 companies and 500 schools and universities. These groups are all on our platform, where they share and consume job listings, articles and video content every day. They come together physically at recruitment forums, and interact virtually during our LIVE video chats, where students can put their questions directly to companies.
But we’re convinced that we can go even further than that. By activating our community, bringing everyone together around the same table, (at our annual Careers Service Day for instance), conducting surveys such as “Preparing the New Generation for the Future of Work”, and sharing our challenges and solutions, we can give today’s generation the best chances at success.
We firmly believe that armed with their optimism, adapted guidance tools and the support of this unique ecosystem, young people today will have everything they need to thrive in a world full of opportunities - and never make career decisions by default ever again.
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