The students of today are the transient workers of tomorrow
By: Lorna, CEO, redwigwam
Millennials will have a more flexible and multi-faceted career path than the workers of the 20th and early 21st century. That journey may even begin while they are students, still at university.
This summer’s university graduates are set to enter a working world that is not yet entirely equipped to deal with them. These educated individuals differ from their predecessors because, as digital natives, they are not intellectually stimulated in the same way.
It may sound to be a modern cliché but I believe it to be true that attention spans are shrinking significantly. I don’t mean that people can’t concentrate on one thing for a sustained period of time but rather that digital natives are so used to having the freedom to shift their focus more readily. That can be something as simple as switching between social networks, ordering a different cuisine for takeaway or shifting between job roles.
The impact of social networks and online content may seem removed from the world of work but I think that the changes brought about by technology are much more profound than that.
The graduates of yesterday believed that going to university and gaining a degree would line them up nicely for a job in a role that they could call a career. Sure, some of them hopped out of line and maybe decided to take a different path at one point or other. But the general consensus has always been that holding down a single steady job is part and parcel of being an adult.
It’s important that I clarify that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. After all, I enjoy knowing that if I need to go and see the doctor or dentist that they have spent their life studying hard and then applying themselves in their chosen profession for a number of years.
But not all career paths are this linear. And, importantly, there is no reason why they should be in 2017. I see a future ahead where workers come to look for the same flexibility and versatility that the digital age has offered them in their recreational lives. We are talking about a generation that has never known a time when banking wasn’t done online; the world’s back-catalogue of music wasn’t available to stream instantaneously; and getting a taxi couldn’t be done through an app.
Last year I wrote an article about how and why redwigwam are Breaking the temp agency mould in which I discussed this topic in more detail. Today, however, I want to look at what these Millennials are doing right now and what the employment landscape can offer them as they go through and beyond their university careers.
Experience and enrichment
I heard an interesting turn of phrase recently in relation to university attendance. One TV correspondent referred to Britain as going through a period of “educational inflation”. With more young people opting for higher education there is an argument that to stand out from the crowd you now have to back up a Bachelors degree with a Masters degree; or even supplement a Masters with a PhD.
I believe there is some truth to this argument but I also think there are two important points to be made:
- If students are required to work longer and harder to get qualifications with genuine employer appeal, they need to become more adept at funding these choices.
- Employers will place a premium on real-world experience and the value of an enriched, rounded CV will increase.
Through RedWigWam, thousands of students are already helping to subsidise their university careers and add to their skill sets through a broad range of temporary work placements. From traditional hospitality work to mystery shopping experiences to administration roles, our students often talk about learning to work in teams and gaining what their future employers want . . . experience.
Here at redwigwam HQ we practice what we preach. Within our team, we currently employ a number of students as part of our administration and social media teams. These young people are undertaking courses as varied as Dentistry and Marketing but they are all keen to get hands-on experience... as well as a welcome boost to their bank accounts, of course.
The steady rise in the cost of higher education has placed a demand on students to become more organised with their time and more efficient in their extra-curricular activities. The students on our payroll are electing to counter debt with employment. Some have ambitions to keep their student borrowings to a bare minimum and avoid repayments that may take them well into their 50s. Others simply want to earn enough to give them a little extra beer money.
For the digital natives currently aged 18 to 25, the idea of being able to take on temporary job roles as easily as they hail a taxi or order a takeaway is an appealing one. Through the RedWigWam app we match workers with hirers 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, making it possible for students to gain employment at short notice (particularly helpful when a lecturer calls in sick) and choose to work as little or often as their studies allow.
Importantly, this flexibility is not penalised. All of our hirers agree to pay at least the National Living Wage of £7.50, even to those students who are under 25. And workers even accrue paid holiday time should they work enough hours.
Businesses benefit from students too
The benefits of employing student talent are well known. Our hirers appreciate being able to access highly intelligent and driven staff at short notice. Through our system, they can flex their resources as required without the hassle of handling payroll or National Insurance contributions. 98% of our roles are filled within just 4 hours, meaning that fully vetted and insured workers can be helping a business to generate revenue the very same day.
If you are looking for a flexible solution to your staffing needs, why not get in touch with us today?
With more than 130,000 employees on our books and a market-leading rate of just 9% commission, we could be helping your business to grow before the end of the day.