Post-COVID-19 workplace for young people.
During the 21 Day Lockdown in March 2020 in South Africa, I shared a post that read : “My thoughts and prayers are with all the public service interns starting internships in April 2020” This was at the hight of what is now level 5 of lockdown. I could only imagine how these young, eager, and hopeful young people felt as some of them were told to stay home until further notice, do onboarding and induction online or even some internships suspended indefinitely. A few friends were also changing jobs at that time, some offers were retracted, and others proceeded full steam ahead with a lot of uncertainty. After having experience this for the first time ever, for everyone across gender, race and age, young people are at an advantage to prepare themselves for what lies ahead.
The common narrative of “go to school, get good marks, get a job and settle down” has significantly been disrupted. The pandemic has not only disrupted by it has accelerated the change which need to take place. Jobs are changing, work has changed and young out to be cautious of that they study and more importantly how they view the world of work going forward. “Work is not where you go, but what you do” this statement is reality as working from home is the norm. The social settings which would assist young interns to break barriers into entry and be onboarded are now virtual. Traditionally, many aspects of the employee experience rely on one-to-one or personal conversations or interactions including disciplinary procedures, the hiring process, and the onboarding of new staff. The pandemic and lockdown have presented an opportunity to employ technology to reimage these experiences for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR)
With job cuts, layoff extensions and new working habits developing across the country, many employers and jobseekers are looking for guidelines to help them understand where opportunities are available and how to prepare for the future of work. Access to information and data has become critically important than before. The gap between tertiary and the workplace has significantly widened and poses a challenge to young people entering the workplace who need guidance and mentoring.
Hard skills such as digital and coding skills, data analytics and literacy and problem solving skills, as well as soft skills such as adaptability and agility, emotional intelligence and critical thinking are the skills companies are hiring for right now. There is also a change in how employers view compensation (salaries) with mental health and wellness benefits, flexible pay and childcare support more prominent in compensation packages. Virtual recruitment, remote working and the acceleration of technology adoption are some of the other major trends caused by Covid-19.
Employment is always the ultimate goal, more so now than ever.