A recent survey revealed that 34% of graduate professionals believe that millennials need a different leadership style in order to thrive in the workplace and companies need to adapt to these new ways of working with millennials. The study was conducted among almost 6000 graduate professionals by PPS - the financial service provider focused on graduate professionals.
Motshabi Nomvethe, Technical Marketing Specialist at PPS, states that it is very positive to note that these professionals acknowledge the fact that millennials just need some guidance and mentorship in order to be successful in the working world. “There has been some controversy about how the new generation (millennials) operate in the workplace, but luckily South African professionals realise that this generation simply has a different way of doing things and if the business is willing to adapt to this they can establish a successful working relationship.”
Millennials will start to become dominate players in the workforce as older generations retire and the younger generation fill those positions. Millennials are also better educated than previous generations, with 89% of this generation having a university degree and 11% with postgraduate qualifications* – so Nomvethe states that it is important that businesses adapt the workplace for the incoming workforce.
While 19% of the respondents indicated that millennials are not as hard working as previous generations, 10% still argued that millennials are not much different to any of their previous generations and they work just as hard, states Nomvethe.
She says that it was however concerning to note that 77% of the graduate professionals feel that newly qualified graduates are not sufficiently prepared for the working world when they are employed. “Of those professionals who don’t believe new graduates are ready for the workplace, the majority (45%) felt the reason is because the transition from tertiary education into the workplace is so different that it is too tough for the young graduates to adapt easily. In addition, 23% of the professionals who don’t think young graduates are ready for the workplace stated that these graduates do not have any previous workplace experience (such as internships) as part of their academic career, while 24% says they cannot link the theory they have studied into practice.”
Nomvethe says that of the 23% respondents who said that new graduates are in fact ready to enter the workplace, 51% granted their positivity to the fact that the graduate had conducted an internship or mentorship as part of their degree and therefore had a basic understanding of what their work entails. “These statistics again confirm the important role of internship programmes, for both the graduate and the employer, when it comes to preparing youngsters for the workplace while they are still studying,” she states.
She believes that internship and mentorship programmes can help prepare millennials for real work challenges such as applying technical skills to the job, dealing with people, adapting to different leadership styles, management skills, working independently, being aware of and respectful of generational differences, developing their career and staying true to their values in the work environment.
“More has to be done to ensure that our young professionals are better prepared by tertiary institutions to enter the working world upon their graduation. This can be done through collaboration with corporate South Africa to provide more internship opportunities for these graduates while they are still studying,” concludes Nomvethe.