Why millennials need to reinvent themselves
dubai — Intervention at an early age is the key to nurturing the talents of the next generation of business leaders, according to experts participating in a debate on the role of millennials in the workforce, convened by Canadian University Dubai (CUD).
Millennials — people born between 1981 and 2000 — will make up 35 per cent of the global workforce by year 2020 and their work motivations, preferences and employability potential are subjects of global discussions. Millennials are the first generation to be exposed to a very fluid labour market, making their careers a transformation journey, where they need to re-invent themselves, try out new skills and need continuous learning.
Panelists Lina Hourani, CSR division director of Al Ahli Holding Group; Juan Pablo, skills academy worldwide leader for the IBM Global University Program; and Dr Franziska Apprich, assistant professor at CUD, agreed that entrepreneurship should be promoted and supported among young people, in order for them to develop the skills to be successful, both as business innovators and future employees.
Dr Apprich said: “Young people have the most creative ideas, they are not inhibited by the perceived ‘norms’ of business, and they are resilient to making mistakes and trying again. There might even be an argument for introducing the basic concepts of entrepreneurship at kindergarten level.”
Hourani, who leads programmes that promote social entrepreneurship among young people said that, in this region in particular, it is vital that millennials become accustomed to working with other nationalities. She also spoke about the ways of reaching out and communicating with millennials as a generation that was born with and has grown up in a digitally connected world.
As a leading tech company, IBM is already recognising the future importance of millennials, according to Pablo. He said: “Millennials are not only the next generation of business people, they are set to become the largest consumer population in history, and this has huge implications for product design. We have to get them involved now in planning the development of future products, and for this reason they have a vital place in the workforce.”
The panel went on to discuss the importance of internships in preparing millennials for the workforce, and the role and responsibilities of employers in investing time in developing their future employees. The debate also considered the role of education in preparing students through more practical rather than theoretical approaches to education.
The discussion was part of the inaugural CUD Partners’ Breakfast, which brought together more than 70 executives and officials from government and private sector organisations in the UAE to network and join the debate.