While the changing nature and organisation of work stands to impact societies and economies around the world, there is one group of individuals for whom these changes are particularly salient—the ‘millennials’. Born between 1980 and early 2000s, millennials have surpassed the previous generations—Generation X and Baby Boomers—as the largest generation in history, and now comprise a third of the world’s population. Many entered the labour force when the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 had worsened economic circumstances to the deepest historic low since the Great Depression. The present working trajectories and future economic decisions of this generation will be greatly affected by the changing nature and organisation of work. While millennials are better educated than the previous generations, they face less certainty and lower incomes in the labour market . Even though the levels of technological penetration and participation vary around the world, the millennial generation is largely digitally native and uses digital devices and software in the workplace as well as in their daily life.
These skills come in necessary as the speed of technological change is likely to be much faster for this generation than it has been for previous generations. This means that many millennials and those born after them (forming ‘Generation Z’) will need to be prepared to learn new skills at various points over their careers. Further, these generations, more than their predecessors, need to learn adaptability—the ability to respond to unexpected circumstances and un-learn and re-learn at a fast pace. While socio-emotional skills and combinations of different skill types are growing more important due to their resistance for technological substitution and transferability across different job contexts, job-specific skills face more uncertainty. As the speed of technological development increases, many of the generation entering primary school now will work in careers that do not yet exist and thus investment in skills that are transferable across jobs seems like a more secure strategy.
The World Bank identifies three domains as the cornerstones of development for these relevant skills: early childhood, tertiary education and adult learning outside jobs. In order for millennials and Generation X to obtain education that prepares them for the changing labour market, targeted investments in these three areas are needed. This is a challenge given that the youth around the world are far from being a homogenous group, as large differences in gender, income, access to education,existing skill level and geography affect who is better positioned to embrace the opportunities in the changing labour market (International Labour Organization, 2017).
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Data science, artificial intelligence and the futures of work | Zenodo