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Over the last four weeks and the next few weeks, 3.69M kids in the USA will graduate high school and another 3M+ will graduate from college with an undergraduate degree to the best job market in recent history. In 2018 the undergraduate employment rates were extremely low at 2.1% according to the US government. In January 2019 most recent graduates said they got jobs within only a few months after graduating. Timing is everything. Imagine that statistic in 2008 in the middle of the recession when new undergraduates could take a year or more to get a job?
In 2020 Millennials will be the largest workforce population in the globe. Low unemployment, high digital skill demands, booming economies. However, this is a very different future of work for them because it isn’t just about timing. It will involve some difficult navigation questions for undergraduates that they will have little experience about how to handle. Millennials will likely have 15 jobs over their career compared to the 5 for Boomers.
Think of three facts about the world in front of you as a university undergraduate or as a parent of recently graduating or soon to be graduating child. It is a totally different world than the one of five, ten or fifteen years ago.
Fact One – There are lots of future failing corporations (72% of them), so be very careful who you choose to work for
Nobody would argue that the economy is not digitally transforming right in front of us. As consumers, business leaders and owners the digitization of every level of society are there. Yet only 28% of corporations are succeeding in transforming themselves into attractive digital and even AI centred workplaces for this mostly born digital workforce. That means that there is only a one in four chance if you go and work in the G2K that you pick a digitally transforming thriving employer. That first job trains you for the next one or two so going to work in a place not building itself for the inevitable digital future could well be a very bad career or learning error.
The 28% of corporations thriving with digital transformation are gobbling up the positive elements of the digital economy four times better than the remaining 72% of them. Sure your kids might want Google or Amazon, but if they choose to be in financial services, media and marketing, utilities or many other industries they will want to be in a leader that gets the digital future at a deep level. The questions about digital transformation vision for the company has to be asked to HR.
Ask the interviewer where they believe their corporation is in terms of digital transformation?
Ask the interviewer for real examples of how a digitally transforming company is changing their work experience?
Fact Two: Digital leadership is essential. As parent help them find it
65%+ of corporations are basically digitally wrapping. As a parent, I do not want a friend’s freshly minted graduate working there as a long-term career if that employer does not get the reality of the digital core word going forward. It’s like jumping onto a sailing ship competing with steamships. There is a new due diligence level needed for Millennials.
Go online to the website, look for digital transformation videos about the company on Youtube, look at Glassdoor for comments about the company modernizing, read SEC listings about their strategic intent on AI, digital transformation, etc. , social and see if they are talking about doing the real work of digital transformation in their company. Research last year in the G2K showed that corporations with leaders not fully leaning in to a digital future (daily) or not investing at least 17.5 hours a week on the processes around digitally transforming their organization.
Ask a potential employer how many hours they think their CEO is dedicating a week to digitally transforming their corporation?
Fact Three: Working practices are going to radically different so get to the right practices now
In the research for the Wall Street Journal best-selling book (The Digital Helix), we found that working practices that are designed to revolve around the following ideas dominate thriving companies:  Strategy is less about long term planning and it is more about being constantly one step ahead.  Working practices that look for new information sources, carry experiments to the end.  Finally companies that see everybody as equal partners dominate the most successful companies. It is tough to observe these three elements online but you can ask your interviewer or walk around and observe them.
Ask an interviewer how their digital working practices are evolving in new ways?
The decisions undergraduates will make now and going forward are very different in nature going forward. We have not even touched how AI and automation will radically reshape jobs in legal, medical, media etc. Yes, Millennials will have lots of chances to get this right, but those first steps in the digital workplace are vital. As parents, friends and as undergraduates we need to help them make the right giant leaps into the digital working space because they need to ask these three questions of their potential employers.
June 10, 2019 at 09:30AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs