Tag: Graduates

Side hustles are a priority for the next generation

According to new data by business finance lender, Sonovate, flexible work culture is a key consideration for most young workers when choosing a job, with over half (53%) of 18 to 34-year-olds claiming that talented young people won’t join companies that don’t champion flexible working.

The data also suggested that portfolio careers will become increasingly popular among younger workers in the next decade with 59% of 18 to 34-year-olds agreeing and 54% of the same age demographic saying that having a portfolio career will be important to them at some stage in their career.

The majority (57%) of young respondents don’t believe they need to be in an office full time to learn what they need, and feel they are well equipped to do it all virtually. The survey indicates that young workers see the benefits of freelance work, giving them the flexibility to experiment with different career routes (57%) and to have a family or pursue their interests (50%).

Over a third (36%) of 18 to 34-year-olds have made a career change in order to work more flexibly during the pandemic and the report suggested that the pandemic prompted a shift in attitudes towards jobs among the younger working generation with 44% of 18 to 34-year-olds claiming they don’t want to work the way they did before the pandemic. This is why and over half (54%) of this demographic feel that a shift towards more freelance working is a good thing for graduates, school leavers and new entrants into the world of work.

Richard Prime, co-founder and co-CEO at Sonovate commented: “As the pandemic caused a significant proportion of the UK’s younger employees to lose jobs or go on furlough, young workers had more time than ever to consider what they want from their careers. Younger people’s preferences toward portfolio careers and multiple side-gigs are rooted in a desire for a better work/life balance and to make an income from what they are passionate about. Now, these preferences are being heard more loudly than ever, with people and companies learning to juggle accordingly.”

Lotanna Ezeike, founder and CEO at XPO, a platform that helps social media influencers get paid on time, also weighed in: “For young people today, the concept of what a ‘career’ should look like is a lot more malleable than for any past generation. A central priority for many is finding flexibility. But the idea of working on a contract or freelance basis isn’t, to them, just about being flexible to work less or hang out more. Instead, a more contract or part-time work life supports their desire for greater ownership over what they do and how they spend their working lives. Many creators and influencers want to work but it’s important to them to ‘own’ their time and retain their freedom to choose how they spend it doing things they love.”

Managing Director of TALiNT Partners, Ken Brotherston has been outspoken when it comes to the notion of the side hustle. He commented: “While the scenario of a portfolio of work holds true for a certain percentage of the working population, this isn’t so for large part of it. There is a significant portion of the workforce who aren’t influencers and need the certainty of a permanent job, as well as the need to supplement their income to pay bills. This scenario isn’t choosing a portfolio of work because it’s cool and flexible, they do it out of necessity.”

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Finance industry least likely align with graduates’ social responsibility goals

CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, conducted a survey on the career outlook of more than 15,000 current university students as well as graduates aged 18 to 25, across 15 markets.

The results found that globally, 58 percent of respondents still feel confident about their future career prospects following the pandemic. Traditionally stable sectors, such as finance, remain attractive for graduates navigating these uncertain times with respondents across all 15 markets putting finance as one of the top five most valuable majors for finding a career. Medicine/science was also seen as stable and attractive, followed by healthcare and then education.

Margaret Franklin, CFA President and CEO of CFA Institute commented: “It is incumbent on companies to adapt to the new realities, such as hybrid workplaces, in order to attract and retain the young talent we need to help lead us out of the pandemic.”

“Worryingly, however, graduates currently don’t see the finance industry as making a positive social impact. This issue is only going to increase in importance, and industry leaders need to make sure we are on the front foot in educating students about the positive impact an investment career can have for people and our planet.”

 

Graduates are reassessing their career paths

Many graduates believe their future career will be as good or better than their parents’ generation, despite COVID-19. The survey results showed that those studying accounting and finance were particularly confident, with 80% believing their prospects are as good.

Despite this confidence however, 46% of the respondents reported they are reassessing their career paths considering the pandemic with top concerns now including low pay in their preferred sector (26%), lack of jobs in their preferred sector (25%) and working in a sector that doesn’t fulfil or interest them (26%).

 

Further education is key in a job market in flux

Developing work-related skills during and after their degrees was another concern for students. Those surveyed shared personal insecurities about this with 25% saying they feel underqualified for the job they want, and 22% saying they don’t feel prepared for the working world, post-graduation.

Students and graduates are seeing the benefit of further education. Nearly 87% of respondents feel that upskilling and post-graduate qualifications are important in the current job market, and 57% believe postgraduate qualifications/professional certification will give them an edge when looking for a job.

This is causing a significant uptake in further studies, with nearly half of graduates planning to prolong their time in education.

Peter Watkins, who leads the University Affiliation Program at CFA Institute in Europe, Middle East and Africa commented: “Graduates’ strong confidence in higher education is good news for universities but we should be clear about their motives. Graduates are clearly focusing on work-readiness, professional skills, and boosting their job prospects; higher education and credentialling institutions need to ensure their offerings meet this demand.”

 

Making a positive impact

We know Gen Zs are looking for a sense of belonging and to work in an industry that aligns with their values. Nearly nine in 10 (87%) respondents said it’s an important part of their career choice. Of concern is that only 8% of respondents consider a career in investment management as one in which they could make a positive environmental and societal impact. This shows again that the finance industry needs to more to educate students around the positive impact they could have to attract talent.

Watkins added: “Graduates may be unaware of the remarkable global trend towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and the career opportunities a specialism in sustainability and ESG could offer them in the investment industry.”

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