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Academic paper on the connections between the skills gap and rising unemployment among young people. A study carried out in Romania confirming Consulting Firm McKinsey's global study.

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Article upgrade yourself or stay unemployed

  1. 1. Upgrade yourself or stay unemployed Magda Albert, magdolna.albert@emanuel.ro (Entrepreneurial Master Student 2nd Year, Griffiths School of Management) Bogdan Negu, bogdan.negru@emanuel.ro (Entrepreneurial Master Student 1st Year, Griffiths School of Management) The research emphasized in this paper has as a primary purpose the analysis of the existing gap between what employers need as human resources and the existing talent found on the market, with a clear focus on young talents. Along the issues that this paper studies, the focus is made on talent management, and how things can be improved through some specific and practical solutions which can be implemented within the market. Evidence shows that there is a global issue with regards to the lack of skills for young people that come out of university, as emphasized by employers and economists. Also, by 2020 there will be a global shortfall of 85 million midhigh level workers, which will clearly leave place for other talents. This is the real issue, the need of talented people that have the right skill set and are ready to fill in jobs for which there is a demand on the market. Employers are concerned that young talents have an inadequate training, and less than half of young employees they have recently hired lack in problem-solving skills. Statistics show that approximately 60% of young people around the world would pay more for a training or education that would improve the chances of securing an attractive job, while 70% of employers say they would pay more for the right talent, if only they could find it. The research also focuses on determining what are the most significant challenges toward finding the right talent amongst young people, what is the percentage of young workers aged 20-30 within the company, what are the biggest challenges regarding the lack of talent that young employees might have, what is the role of education in shaping and building the right foundation of knowledge that young people need, etc. The current paper comes with practical solutions to these issues, through developing the ”Upgrade Yourself” academy that has as main purpose the create of a bridge between employers and talented young people, and helping to improve the required knowledge and skills, so that both parties can benefit from it. Implementing the right solutions to the issues that companies are facing will not only help both employers and employees to achieve more but will help the society from an economical perspective as well. Key words: talent management, young employees, employers, skills gap, knowledge, education, training, jobs, and academy THE YOUNG AND THE LABOUR MARKET One recent article by The Economist (Youth Unemployment - Generation Jobless 2013) states that almost 300 million 15-to 24-year-olds are not working calling it an “epidemic of joblessness.” While one might say this can be driven by individual and different factors, the authors of this paper have set forth to find the circumstances contributing to this phenomenon, ways of preventing it and potential solutions. THE SKILLS GAP According to a recent survey by McKinsey (McKinsey 2013) related to global unemployment, there is a significant disconnect between perceptions variously held by employers, education providers and the young themselves. Talking to employers, one realizes that they are in dire need for the right young talent, and that they go extensive lengths in order to reach those candidates, using different ways such as the Internet in all its forms. Going from websites, social media, technical forums, landing pages, to mobile applications, companies use these channels in order to create candidates communities, followers of their own culture and aura of “best companies to work for.” Another mean of getting to candidates is through partnerships and common events with education institutions. These can range company 1
  2. 2. in/out-house universities, recruitment events, internships, and social responsibility projects. And last but not least companies search for young candidates through the services of recruitment agencies that are savvy in sorting through the massive number of candidate resumes available on the market. Despite all these efforts employers make, 40% of them declared in the same survey that they have problems filling entry-level jobs due to inadequate skills, pointing at the poor training given by education providers. Going further into the lacks of young candidates, employers mention that less than half have adequate problem-solving skills, and 70% of them would pay more for the right talent, if only they could find it. Young people, on the other hand, are spending time and money (never mind, their own families) on university degrees around the world, covering hundreds of pages and case studies in their own area of expertise. Naturally they expect to reach a knowledge level that will help them find a job, and some of them even dream of life-long careers in their field of study. Once out of the university benches, the reality is very different as they struggle to find a job and many times (almost 45% according to the same study) prefer to accept roles not related to their studies, and 1 in 2 consider them the jobs as interim and are considering leaving. Thus, young people around the world are looking at the difference between what they have been taught in schools and universities and the reality of the employers requirements, and tend to deem education institutions as having failed to provide the right set of skills, and 60% of them would be ready to pay more for an education that will increase the prospects of securing an attractive and decent job, that will give the sense of respect that comes with them. Education institutions are part of society’s infrastructure to “produce” the numbers of future employees required in the labour market. May they be private or state-owned their targets rely on providing high levels of knowledge, and as much practical insight for the young students as possible in the academic environment. Nonetheless the finger pointing of both employers and young people gives a hint as to some of the lacks of the education systems around the world. Even though over 70% of the education providers that took part of the McKinsey survey believe they are appropriately preparing graduates for the job market. Where are they failing? Without a remedy for the discrepancy between demand and supply, the author of the article forecasts a global shortfall of 80 million of high- and middle-level skills workers for the labour market by 2020. Income inequality One of the direct implications of this skills gap, according to a special report by the Economist Newspaper (Special Report: The Great Mistmatch 2011) is the increasing difference between unemployed individuals living in poverty or a similar condition and highly compensated professionals. Looking at the rich countries, jobs have been cut due to austerity policies and failing businesses, which has led to high unemployment causing unrest in the form of riots such as the ones visible in Britain or Spain in 2011. Beyond the paradox of “rich countries,” the Middle East has shown that the Arab Spring has found its roots also in the lack of decent work for young people, all of which has led to the bringing down of governments such as Tunisia and Egypt early 2011. The article underlines the fact that there are initiatives that take advantage of today’s globalization innovation in Information Technology and the easiness to source talent from wherever it may be located as long as the Internet is present. ODesk is presented as a business targeted at 2
  3. 3. intermediating outsourcing through the means of its platform. However the significant difference is that it takes the outsourcing services that were previously provided by business in the form of armies of professionals to the level of individual workers. This brings advantages for both sides as 540,000+ companies get to tap in the availability of 2.7 million+ contractors (Leeder 2013), and employees who can earn money without the trouble of being employed by a big company or leaving home. This leads to another shift in today’s global workforce as many of the jobs that were achieved by white collars in the western world are now being done “wirelessly” over the Internet. All of which leads to a shift and diminishing of the wages paid by companies from the rich world to poorer countries, increasing unemployment in the rich countries and with poorer countries catching up in terms of the level of revenues (True Progressivism - Income Inequality and the world economy 2012) While there are extensive theories about income inequality and issues pertaining to it, there are two that are worth mentioning (Milanovic 2013). The first is related to the so-called meritocracy, which is the political philosophy that holds power should be vested in individuals according to merit. According to John Rawls, a political philosopher, in his “Theory of Justice” (Rawls 1971) mentions it should not be viewed as entirely inadequate due to its elitist aura (i.e. only the top talents, professionals having ability and access to knowledge are plausible candidates to merit & reward), as in our society poor people are not forbidden from any career, however the same society takes close to no initiative to resolve the imbalance of the starting positions. He emphasizes that a “liberal equality” is required, where inheritance of wealth is limited and access to education is effectively equalized for all. Neither the inherited wealth nor the privileged access to education is something that one has obtained through his/her own efforts, but rather through circumstances of birth. Thus neither should influence one’s income! Nonetheless his view is not entirely solving the long-term inequality, as incomes could be unequal if they corresponded to differences in effort cleared of all inherited advantages and disadvantages, and considering this, it would benefit the poor. John Roemer, in his book “Equality of Opportunity” (Roemer 1998), continues on the idea of Rawls that income should be proportional to effort and should not be influenced by any circumstances that are in one’s favor or disadvantage. Going forward he underlines the idea that if there are two classes of people who because of their different backgrounds, have different productivity levels income must not be decided on that difference. Rather, the effort should be rewarded. Thus, we seem to see that theoretical approaches developed by political philosophers with regards to income inequality are pointing at transparency and support so as to offer everyone an opportunity to come up with effort that would draw the right compensation regardless of background, and productivity level. Moreover, one understands that education has a significant impact on income and on the probability to access a decent job, and even a desirable career. “FAR AND AWAY the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing,” observed Theodore Roosevelt, then America’s president, in a Labour Day speech on September 7th 1903. The education system failures The financial crisis from 2008 had a clear effect upon Romania as well, and the job security had dramatically fallen. In this sense, not only unemployment rate is very high, but also the number of available job openings is very low. This results in a high competition rate on the labor market for 3
  4. 4. each available position. Still, there are some positive signals on the market for the IT sector, transportation and sanitation services. (Mihailovici 2012) The lack of sufficient jobs on the marketplace for young graduates is also a result of the absence of prospecting efforts on the Universities behalf. There is an actual need to study the available positions on the market, in order to have a proportionate number of seats for different specialties/faculties that Universities offer. Furthermore, this would allow reducing the discrepancy between university seats and available jobs for graduates once they have finalized their studies. In this sense, if the head of Universities from Romania will consider it a top priority, the end result would quantify in a higher rate of available positions being filled. The end objective should be to decrease the existent proportion of 80% graduates that work in different areas than the one they have studied for, and actually prepare them for what the real needs on the market are. The workforce competition is very intense, and statistics show that Romania has an annual number of 190,000 graduates. For instance, in 2012, there were 47,825 graduates having an economics & science profile; 44,233 graduates with legal sciences; 6,030 graduates holding political and administrative sciences degrees; 3,080 for psychological studies; etc. The state also supports the tuition fees for 62,000 first year students, in an effort to encourage the Higher Education (Ofiteru 2013). Studies show that employers give 30% more credit to those who have graduated from the University as compared to those who have not. Also, the reputation that the University has is also important. Romania has 56 state universities across the country compared to just 35 private universities. When companies consider promotions for their employees, salary increases, etc. a strong differentiator is whether they hold certificates, a Master’s Degree, or Doctoral (Digi 24 2012). The true value of diplomas cannot be underestimated. Still, statistics show that Technical Degrees are more valuable for the current workforce as there is an inappropriate balance between technical professionals and people who are in a leadership/managerial position. Considering the profile that successful candidates should have, there are various criteria of selection, but what is very important and is very often left behind is actually the character of candidates which cannot easily be replaced if ailing. Moreover, we are not suggesting for one not to focus on education, social skills, abilities, competences and the like when considering candidates, but rather to have in mind that character is very important as well, closely tied to integrity. If candidates have everything that is needed for the job, but have no character, then time will prove them wrong for that particular position and for the company that hired them (Myatt 2013). Looking at the fluctuations in job openings that can be seen in Romania, statistics show some positive peaks but many negative ones as well in the last few years. In the IT sector, the total number of available jobs had increased from 526 in year 2008, to 785 jobs in 2011. Also, in 2008 the number of available jobs for the sanitation services sector was 536, which have increased to 699 jobs in 2011, as the trend has been positive. The same for the transportation sector, where in 2008 were only 1,010 job openings compared to 2011 when there were 1,370 (Mihailovici 2012). On the other hand, studies have shown that the most affected sector is the educational one. In 2008 there were 4,967 jobs available, compared to year 2011 when there were only 382 jobs available (Mihailovici 2012). The National Agency of Workforce in Romania shows that the total number of unemployed people was 510,409 as of February 2013, out of which 22,02% are young people below 29 years of age. At a National Level, the unemployment increased to 5.78% (Wall Street 2013). 4
  5. 5. RESEARCH Romanian hospitality industry The Research that has been conducted by Advanced Solutions Team (Solutii Avansate 2013) has furthered the knowledge gathered on the hospitality industry, regarding young graduates that have studied in the same field. The respondents are represented by group of 170 people who are in leadership positions. 58% of them are coming from tourism agencies, and 42% from hotels or other accommodation centers. This data has been obtained at the end of February 2012. Out of the total number of companies participating in this study, only 49% have actually employed young graduates between January 2009 and January 2012. Out of these 93% have employed between 1 to 9 graduates, and only 1% have employed more than 30 graduates. Regarding the level of satisfaction towards the theoretical knowledge these graduates have obtained during their years of studies, 39% were satisfied with it and 8% very satisfied, while 16% were unsatisfied and 6% have been completely unsatisfied. 12% of the respondents have mentioned that they are very unsatisfied with the practical abilities that young employees have, while only 7% of the respondents are very satisfied with young employees' practical abilities. Looking at the specific period of time that graduates need in order to adapt to the company’s environment, 15% of the respondents mentioned that they would need less than a month, while 30% have mentioned that these graduates would need more than 3 months. There are a great number of abilities that respondents have mentioned are important and very important in 90% of the cases. These abilities are: desire to learn, flexibility and adaptability, results oriented, self-control, foreign languages knowledge, personal and working ethics, time management, computer operating skills, listening abilities, customer relationship, problem solving abilities, anticipating the client’ needs, efficiency and a good attitude in crisis, research abilities and identifying opportunities. The top abilities showing the percentage rate as well are the following: 97% in terms of desire to learn and gather more knowledge; 97% in terms of anticipating the clients’ needs; 96% in terms of foreign languages knowledge; 96% in terms of efficiency and a good attitude in times of crisis; 96% in terms of being good researchers; 96% in terms of being good problem solvers; 95% in terms of flexibility and adaptability; 94% in terms of personal and work ethics; 93% in terms of listening abilities; 93% in terms of computer operating skills; 92% in terms of self control; 92% in terms of customer relationship; 91% in terms of time management; 91% in terms of networking; 91% in terms of being results oriented; 90% in terms of identifying opportunities. Going further with other skills and abilities, the study shows the following results: 89% in terms of knowledge on the sector of activity; 88% in terms of analytical thinking; 87% in terms of the capacity to take decisions; 86% in terms of being good team players; 85% in terms of marketing and sales abilities; 82% in terms of project management; 82% in terms of emotional intelligence; 81% in terms of knowledge within the field of work; 76% in terms of encouraging and facilitating the management team; 76% in terms of capacity to realize a strategic analysis; 75% in terms of intercultural differences awareness; 74% in terms of proactivity; 74% abilities to negotiate; 70% regarding the ability to motivate others; 69% in terms of making things happen; 67% in terms of business acumen; 64% in terms of economic forecast understanding; 59% in terms of being good influencers; 58% in terms of having relevant expertize in the field; 54% in terms of technical expertize; and 53% in terms of understanding laws and regulations. Out of the 170 respondents, only 12% have graduated High School, and 88% have higher degree studies. Out of those that have higher degrees there are 53% who hold a Bachelor’s Degree, 34% who hold a Master’s Degree, and 1% have Post-Doctoral Studies. This shows that there is a higher chance for one to be in a leadership/managerial position if they hold a University diploma or even a 5
  6. 6. higher degree, which is a good case scenario for graduates, and a great opportunity for current enrolled students. Out of all respondents 75% hold a Degree in the field they are working in, which in this case is tourism. Also, 30% of respondents are aged between 21-30 years, which is encouraging for young graduates who would like to work within the field they have studied at. UPGRADE YOURSELF REPORT SURVEY RESULTS A research conducted by Stark Talent in April 2013 has the main purpose of finding solutions to improve the professional abilities of young people, and for them to better respond to the needs of employers. Based on the analysis of results, then reduce the gap between employers’ needs in terms of employees’ required skills and the existing talent on the market, with a strong emphasis on young people, aged 20-30 years. In studying the opportunities within the market, focus is given on analyzing the challenges that companies face with regards to young employees, the weak and strong points that young employees have, the way they bring benefits to the company, their previous knowledge, but also trainings and further knowledge needed to enhance their competences and skills, and not the least: the role of education in the entire process. This survey has 210 respondents, from people who are in leadership/managerial roles in Romania. The aim of this research is to find a solution to complement the educational system, so that the existing talent will better fill in the market demand. Through reducing the existing gap between employer needs and young talents, the hiring process will be more efficient and generate better results. When asked what the greatest challenges are in finding the right candidates for the available jobs, with the possibility to choose more than one answer, 51.90% of the respondents have mentioned the „lack of technical competences”; 49.04% mentioned „the lack of available candidates”, while 43.80% agreed that „candidates” requirements are above their qualifications”, and 36.19% mentioned „the lack of required experience”. Also 7.14% of the total number of respondents mentioned some marginal challenges they have found: young employees attitude towards work, lack of knowledge, lack of seriousness when applying to a job, being unprepared for work, not flexible towards the working time, etc. Only 3.84% of the respondents have mentioned that young employees represent more than 80% of companies' total number of employees, while 59.61% of the respondents have mentioned that young employees represent less than 30% of the total number of employees that companies have. On the one hand, in terms of things that young employees lack at work, the highest percentage with a total of 73.8% of answers is the attitude that they have towards work. Other things are: technical knowledge in the field, proactivity, problem-solving skills in a timely manner, entrepreneurial spirit, and social skills. Among other answers that employers did mention as important things are the following: they don’t have enough confidence in themselves, they are not responsible enough, not committed to work, and degrees that don’t have the expected value, etc. On the other hand, among things that young employees have proved to be good at, employers have mentioned that they have very good computer/Internet skills (63.8%), followed by a high level of energy as 61.42% of respondents have indicated so. Some other strengths besides these that have been ranked high are: fast–learning capacity in 54.76% of the cases, desire to succeed in 40.95% of the cases, desire to learn in 34.76% of the cases. Only less than 2% believe that young employees are good researchers and that they have a structural thinking. 6
  7. 7. When asked about the level of satisfaction that employers have towards young employees’ skills, aptitudes and competences (1 means not satisfied at all while 7 means completely satisfied), the research shows that the top skill in terms of ranking is “being outgoing” with an average of 4.85, and the lowest ranked one is “leadership skill” with an average of 3.47. The rest of the mentioned skills found in between the above two in terms of ranking, are the following in a descending order: customer relationship skills, attitude, abilities for the job, creativity, productivity at work, proactivity and technical competences. This research shows that the previous experience is more important in the hiring process than the Bachelor’s Degree (18.57%), but both have a high-level of importance as the results demonstrate this. In this sense, 82.14% have mentioned that previous experience in the field plays an important role, while 63.57% of the respondents mentioned that the Bachelor’s Degree is important in the hiring process and during the employment time of young graduates. Going furthermore, respondents have actually agreed that internships, specialized courses, training programs, certifications, Master's Degree, etc. are also important in consolidating a strong future career. Employers believe that young employees use only 53% of knowledge gathered during University. When asked how they would improve the level of young employees qualifications and soft skills, 86.67% of employers agreed they would need personalized training, while 69.52% mentioned that they would leverage on performance bonuses, and also 30.95% would cover the costs for different certifications. Only 5.23% have mentioned they would raise employees’ salaries. Some other useful advices that some of the respondents have also mentioned are the following: training on the specific job that needs to be done, career counseling in order to better assess future needs, other incentives which would motivate employees, specialized courses within the Educational Institutions, changing the learning curriculum starting from High-School, etc. Also, employers have mentioned the fact that the best method for young graduates to prepare for their future career is through internships in 83.8% of the responses, while 61.9% of the respondents mentioned that trainings with specialized companies are very helpful as well. To continue with, 44.28% have mentioned that some certificates would help in the future for young employees career, and 39.52% also recommend summer schools for business, IT, etc. Only 11.43% have mentioned that diplomas are a great way to prepare for career. Among other recommendations, employers have also mentioned the following: perseverance as a necessary aptitude, exposure to different jobs through voluntary work, part-time jobs, etc. in order to have a better sense for the type of work they would like to do pursue, lecturing specialized books, personal time of dedicated study, learn at least 2 foreign languages, etc. In terms of recruiting methods that companies use, the study shows that there are 80.47% that promote the available jobs through the use of the Internet, while 72.85% use referrals. To continue with, 44.28% use recruiting agencies which make the recruitment process easier for them, 24.28% use job fairs, and only 16.19% use flyers, brochures, and other printed materials to promote their available positions. Also mass media is a useful channel that companies use, and as other respondents have mentioned some companies promote their employees and thus fill in available positions within the company. REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Challenges in finding the right candidates to hire In their search for the right people, employers meet young people unprepared for the current business environment: • Lack of technical competencies 7
  8. 8. • Lack of qualified candidates for current openings • Mismatch between candidates’ compensation demand and their competencies This is mainly due to the inaccurate picture of the business environment realities that have been constructed along the university years. Young Employees Strengths The generation of Internet and mobile information is surely prepared for the digital and interconnected world of today • • • PC operation literacy and Internet savvy High levels of energy Capacity to absorb information rapidly Along the easiness to browse the vast ocean of information on the Internet, the energy of young people represents an essential resources required in the today’s business world that is constantly changing Weaknesses of young employees If before employment young people predominantly exhibit a lack of competencies, inappropriate attitude takes the first place: • • • • Unsuitable attitude towards work The lack of technical knowledge in the work domain No proactivity or sound ability to complete tasks timely Poor or no entrepreneurial spirit and social abilities The reality of today’s global economy demands that young employees have an attitude that would allow them to take on problems and solve them through searching multiple alternatives, while being innovative and creative. The importance of degrees and experience in the hiring process Degrees no longer represent a guarantee of securing the entrance on the labor market. Employers want to see an obvious interest of young employees to work and implement their ideas, not just projects that look good on paper. Employers prioritize the following: • • • Previous experience in the same area/domain of work Hands-on internships In-depth specialized trainings In other words, it’s essential that young candidates are equipped with up-to-date techniques and concepts, while focusing on the industry of targeted employers. Recruiting methods used by employers The digitization of the global business environment is one of the tendencies that have led to innovating the recruiting process. • • • Promoting jobs through the Internet Use recommendations Using a recruiting agency And if Internet and recommendations are used by a significant part of employers in finding new hires, using recruiting agencies is required to identify professionals that hold abilities and backgrounds that are typically hard to find. 8
  9. 9. Employers advise methods for improving professional abilities They see an urgent need to compensate for the lacks brought by the educational system through several methods meant to bring direct benefits for the activity that young employees are involved with: • • • Customized training Performance-based bonuses and incentives Covering certification costs This approach shows employers’ interest to invest in young people with no intent to lose in the process. Moreover, their gain is not only on the short term but also on the long term. REPORT Introduction This study’s main purpose is to analyze the gap between the talent employers expect and search for and the one available on the labor market, with a focus on young people. International research show that the issue posed by this talent gap is a global phenomenon affecting not only companies that are not to be able to find the right people, but also young people state of mind who can hardly find jobs. Naturally, both of these have an impact on economic stability. McKinsey Co., a consultancy and research company, estimated at the end of 2012 that by 2020 we will see a global deficit of 85 million medium and high skilled workers. Thus, we begin to understand the effects of an inadequate training over the university years, which influences on world economy now and in coming years. Employers are concerned that young candidates have an inadequate training, and that close to half of the recently hired young employees lack problem-solving abilities. 60% of young people in the world would pay more for a training or education that would increase their odds to secure an attractive hob, whereas 70% of employers say they would pay more to employ professionals with the required talent, only if they could find them. Moving forward, we identify the most significant barriers in finding the right talent amongst young people, their lacks, and education’s role in developing the essential knowledge base that young people need today. Figure 1. Participants (%) Team Leader 7 15 Manager (General, HR, IT, Project) Owner/Shareholder 41 16 Other roles 21 General Director 9
  10. 10. 210 business people in key positions within their organizations have contributed to this study, out of which 15% are business owners/share holders, 21% are General Directors, 41% Managers in various functions (General, Human Resources, IT, Projects) and 16% holding other roles. 59% of the companies that they represent are active in industries such as: Manufacturing, IT&C, Professional Services, Pharmacy/Health, Transportation & Logistics, and Constructions. 124 respondents have 30% of their employees with ages between 20 and 30 years. Challenges and weaknesses We notice through their answers that employers identify the cause for the difficulty in finding the right candidates as the lack of technical competencies. This discrepancy (considering employers expectations) is a direct result of an incomplete portrayal of the business world (implied to include normal expectations that young employees should have) through the university years and after. So that when fresh graduates find themselves facing the daily challenges of business, they are poorly equipped to confront them. Employers perceive young employees as not being qualified and tend to search for seasoned candidates with existing and relevant experience. Figure 2. Challenges in finding the right candidates for available openings The lack of technical competencies 109   The lack of qualified candidates for available openings Employees expectations are above their level of competency 103   92   Lack of necessary experience Other 76   15   Furthermore, it’s important to understand that young graduates have unrealistic expectations considering the poor level of their training over their study years. Yet, even if many of them have fulfilled the required criteria of the educational system, the latter seems to not have prepared them for today’s economic reality. When going through the hiring process, the lack of technical competencies is the most obvious, moving forward the scarcity of a right attitude toward work is more blatant. Cultivating the required attitude translates into resulting proactivity, keeping deadlines, entrepreneurial spirit (i.e. innovation, creativity), and not the least social abilities. All of these are valued and expected by employers. These weaknesses are a direct effect of an educational system that focuses on a business environment that no longer exists. Young people’s incapacity to adapt to the real environment is developed by an education that fails to understand and thus underline the progress directions and dynamic of the new economy. In short: “an education focused on utopia.” 10
  11. 11. Figure 3. Weaknesses of young employees (%) Unsuitable attitude toward work 3.9 13.0 The lack of technical knowledge for the work domain Lack of proactivity 25.5 Lack of abilities in completing tasks on time 13.2 20.7 No entrepreneurial spirit 21.2 They don't hold social abilities Other Young Employees Strengths Certainly young employees have strong points which add value to their employers, and some of these are the following: use of computer and Internet, high level of energy and being fast learners. Employers consider all of these strong points young employees have, and it becomes clear the latter can bring great benefits to companies they are working with, especially taking into account the digital business environment we see in today’s eonomy. The lack of market research from Universities in Romania determines the lack of properly prepared young graduates for the challenges that the business environment entails. Young employees cannot hope to have success with a limited attitude such as ”I do only what I am responsible for or told,” considering the highly competitive global economy that requests daily innovative solutions. Their attitude needs to be of such a nature that they should be able and ready to face business challenges and find different alternatives to issues. Figure 4. Strengths of young employees (%) PC operation and Internet literacy High levels of energy Capacity to rapidly absorb information Eager to succeed Eager to learn Think creatively Take initiative Technical abilities Structured thinking Good researchers 6 5 17 41 35 64 61 55 From a total of 210 respondents 11
  12. 12. Aptitudes and Competences Besides the weak and strengths that young employees bring to the table, employers have shown a level of satisfaction which is above the medium level in with regards to young employees’ ability of being outgoing. Very surprisingly the same is true regarding their attitude as well. Even if young employees’ attitude is considered to be inappropriate at the beginning when the hire is made, it seems that employers have a good level of satisfaction towards current employees’ attitude. Still, we understand that there is room for improvement. We can talk about an attitude that evolves when it comes to young graduates. Their determination to succeed brings them to the point where they realize that a career requires a different attitude; that is, a positive one. On the other side a factor that contributes to the change of young employees’ attitude is the working environment, and especially the use of their determination in the daily work that needs to be done. In other words, their desire to succeed helps them to overcome failures. There is a necessary balance between the risk of failure and the success that young employees want to have, and which is also deemed necessary by employers. In this instance, employers need to be more responsible in the sense of properly coaching, training and guiding young employees if they want to reap the benefits. Figure 5. The satisfaction level of employers toward the aptitudes and competencies of young employees Leadership traits Daring 3.47   4.85   Technical competencies 3.82   Relational abilities Proactivity 3.84   4.72   Atitude Creativity 4.08   4.45   Work abilities 4.25   Productivity Competitivity 4.08   4.19   Degrees and Experience One myth that has largely been accepted is that a degree is a ticket to secure an attractive and decent job, which also gives a sense of respect. Still, the reality is that there are many young graduates who work in a different field than the one they have studied and specialized in. The current study shows that previous experience is more important in the hiring process. The degree is somehow mandatory, but not enough, for obtaining the wanted job. 12
  13. 13. One question that young people raise is the following: “How can I actually have experience in my field, when my basic focus was School?” Definitely they are focusing on achieving good results while being at School, from a theoretically standpoint. Still, the solution in this case is found in the periods of internship that students achieve. They enable young graduates to confront the daily challenges that the business environment has, and be aware of day-to-day realities. In this way, internships play an essential role in covering up for the lack of previous experience within their field of study, and on the other hand it helps them having a better perspective on the realities of the business environment. This needs to make employers more responsible towards students that are taking internship, and help them achieve more by involving them in company projects, activities and operations, etc. Figure 6. The importance of degrees and experience in the recruiting process Masters Diploma Previous experience in relevant area of work 5.75   Hands-on internship 3.64   Certificate 3.78   Training programs 4.34   5.37   Specialized training 4.52   Graduate degree 4.45   Improving the training level We have noticed a high need for personalized training as mentioned by employers. This means that employers want to have young employees trained according to the company’s culture and operational prowess. It translates into technical training, approach and services to clients, relationship with colleagues, personal motivation, and others. For both companies and young graduates, the personalized training represents a necessary tool to cover up for the lack of training that young graduates exhibit when it comes to the business environment. Besides training, respondents have underlined the connection between performance and the level of compensation, which points out to the highly competitive business environment. On the other hand, this direct dependency helps young employees to have an objective view on how they are actually performing within the company. Moreover they see if their results help the company only to survive 13
  14. 14. or have a greater impact, helping the company to increase its results (e.g. sales, turnover, etc.) and develop. Figure 7. Methods to improve the professional abilities level of young employees Specialized training 182   Performance-based bonuses and 146   Coverage of certification costs Salary increase 65   11   from total of 210 participants Employers’ interest to invest time and financial resources for personalized training, incentives based on performance and covering up the expenses for different certificates, show the willingness they have towards a long-term relationship with young employees. Recruiting The digital business environment has changed the market strategy for many companies all over the world. Thus, the use of websites, forums and social platforms brings various benefits to companies such as the ease of access to multiple communities from all around the world, e-mail notifications that get to candidates as soon as the job has been posted, the large number of applicants, the ease of promoting jobs to those who are part of social networks, automatically pre-selection of candidates based on certain criteria that the system has, etc. Another good recruiting is the referral, which enables companies to be aware of and select the best candidates more easily and even faster. These referrals are not based only on the applicants’ availability to apply for a certain job but also on a feedback, which is both objective and subjective, from those that recommend them for the job. This is regardless of them pursuing an active job search or a passive “listening” stance. Recruiting agencies represent an alternative for many companies that are aware of the fact they bring to the table a larger pool of candidates through the various recruiting channels and tools used, which makes all the hiring process more efficient from both time and costs involved. Some of the greatest advantages that companies have when collaborating with recruiting agencies is based on the real time methods that agencies use in tracking qualified candidates, based on candidate profiles they have from various job boards, including headhunting and pre-selection interviews. Figure. 8 Recruiting methods (%) Promoting jobs using the internet/job boards Recommendations Recruiting agency Job fairs Promoting openings through printed materials 44 24 16 80 73 14
  15. 15. Conclusions The gap between the lack of young people’s skills and employer’s demands is reflected in expectations that are not met on both sides. Thus, young people invest time, energy and financial resources in obtaining degrees and certificates that should qualify them for what companies are looking for in their new employees. On the other hand, employers invest financial resources, time and effort to find talented employees who can bring value to companies. Undoubtedly, one of the evident reasons that surfaces based on our study is that young generations are not properly prepared for what the requirements of the business environment. The acute need to have prior experience within the field, which would represent an advantage within the hiring process. For young students, this should represent a more serious focus during the internships they take during their years of study, and gather useful knowledge for the future of their career. This is a necessary first step in the career in order to secure a job that is in their field of study. The years of experience they gather help them eventually to consolidate their career and grow within the company. It is important for students to be aware of their need to undergo internships while being at School, and Universities are responsible to show benefits both through thorough evaluation and class case studies. Students invest in their internships so that they can have a basis for their career. This responsibility also sits on the shoulders of companies. They have to involve students in the projects they have and making sure that the internship experience helpful for learning practical things. The fact that young people have a high level of energy makes the entire learning process much easier. Based on this study, personalized training is very important for acquiring the needed qualifications and to better fulfill the actual needs that companies have. Young generations represent the future of our society, and their professional proficiency is clearly reflected in the economic welfare at a national level. If proper attention is given to youth, so that their levels of energy translates into productivity and profit, then this will be reflected in visible improvements for the economic evolution. In the end, results are what actually matter! 15
  16. 16. REFERENCES Digi 24. Valoarea diplomei de facultate. Ce crede angajatorul. 17 Septembrie 2012. http://www.digi24.ro/stire/Valoarea-diplomei-de-facultate-Ce-crede-angajatorul_44266 Leeder, Jessica. „Virtual offices are altering the future of work.” The Globe and Mail, 22 February 2013. McKinsey. „Young, Gifted and Slack.” The Economist, 21 November 2013. Mihailovici, Dana. „Romaniii au ajuns sa caute de munca si cu lupa! Vezi unde mai gasesti de munca in tara noastra.” Econtext, 22 Iunie 2012. Milanovic, Branko. Why Inequality is here to stay. 3 January 2013. http://blogs.hbr.org (accesat January 3, 2013). Myatt, Mike. „The secret to make better hires.” Forbes, 14 February 2013. Ofiteru, Andreea. „Romania Invata Haotic si Munceste Prost: 80 la suta dintre absolventi profeseaza in alte domenii decat in cele in care s-au pregatit.” 13 March 2013. Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, Massachusets: Harvard University Press, 1971. Roemer, John. Equality of Opportunity. Cambridge, Massachusets: Harvard University Press, 1998. Solutii Avansate. Report obtained from Advanced Solution Research Project, found at . 2013. http://share.snacktools.com/B7786DCF8D6/fvu9wnpt (2013). The Economist. „Special Report: The Great Mistmatch.” September 2011. The Economist. „True Progressivism - Income Inequality and the world economy.” 22 October 2012. The Economist. „Youth Unemployment - Generation Jobless.” 27 April 2013, ed. Print. Wall Street. Wall Street. 7 March 2013. http://www.wallstreet.ro/articol/Economie/145413/numarul-oficial-al-somerilor-a-scazut-in-luna-februarie.html 16

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