The Future of Work with Millennials On Board

By: Mikee Canaman

WITH the recent update of iOs, iPhone users can now track their screen time and tell what mobile application eats most of their time when on the phone. Not surprised, social media contributed to almost 80% of my screen time for the past week, despite the intent to abstain. Having to reflect on it, detaching from social media is now close to impossible, as majority of the communication and marketing activities of businesses and organizations, like mine, are performed and happen via social media.

Last January 23 – 25, 2019, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland convened world leaders to discuss the global, regional and industry agendas. The 2019 event focused on the theme, ‘Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ which highlighted millennials in the workforce and the future of work, among others.

Acknowledging how businesses and organizations are developing international influence and start operating on an international scale, today’s technologies have changed much of what we know about the way people work. In the next decade, 75% of the workforce will be consist of millennials, which poses the question: how should organizations transform to adapt in this unprecedented pace of technological evolution and with the millennials on board?

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum mentioned in his statement in Davos that, “The technological change means that our systems in health, transportation, communication, production, distribution, and energy – just to name a few – will be completely transformed. Managing that change will require not just new frameworks for national and multinational cooperation, but also a new model of education, complete with targeted programs for teaching workers new skills”. Schwab emphasized that not only do educational institutions need to prepare young students with the skills to adapt to the types of jobs needed in the next 20 years, but organizations must also take ownership in innovating human resource development programs and aggressively closing the skills gap.

From putting the pressure on educational institutions to human resource departments, organizations should as well take on new collar, a new education and career model, which is reflected among organizations that respond in real time to the changing skills landscape.   Traditional models of only recruiting those with 4-year and advanced degrees shall slowly become a thing of the past.

Access to skills today is a challenge; all the more reason for  organizations  to further invest and leverage from people smarter and more resourceful than who they already have. When  asked what kind of people he hires, Jack Ma, Chinese tech czar and Alibaba executive chairman, said, “When I hire people, I hire the people who are smarter than I am. People who four, five years later could be my boss. I like people who are positive and who never give up.”

With the skills and perseverance in mind in hiring people, organizations should as well build a movement focused on equity. This is because millennials are drawn to businesses that  participate in movements driving social good. Study shows the millennials are dedicated to lead the charge for equitable growth.

It’s a long journey of transformation. Clearly, we are still in the early stages of how sectors and businesses use digital technologies. Whether it will dictate quality of work or profit to businesses, will depend on whether sectoral, local, national and international governance can adapt in time. Reflecting from our respective organizations, I believe we already have the answer to the question: the bright future is here, but are we future-ready?

Mikee Canaman is the Marketing and Communications Manager of FutureSmart Resources + Strategies Inc., an Asean company committed to bridge gaps through technological innovation and data-driven strategies. She is also a Global Shaper from Iloilo Hub, part of the Global Shapers Community — an initiative of the World Economic Forum.