Young workers optimistic about careers, positive about technology: Study
The research report,Amplifying Human Potential: Education and Skills for the Fourth Industrial evolution,commissioned by Infosys and conducted by independent research agency Future Foundation, polled 1,000* young people per country, aged between 16 and 25, in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Overall, while youths across all surveyed countries understood the role that technology will play in their careers and the need to advance their own skills, there is a clear disparity in technical confidence and job opportunities among developed and emerging economies.
Data also indicates that the disparity between emerging and developed economies’technological understanding islinkedto developed markets' long-established education, employment and economic strategies. Emerging economies surveyed have less institutional inertia to contend with, having embarked on their economic rises more recently,and therefore can more flexibly embrace emerging technology. Emerging markets have also accelerated investments in education, buoyed by economic growth.
Capabilities of existing education systems:In the US, 45% of those polled considered their academic education to be very or quite old-fashioned, and that it failed to support career goals, compared to 37% in China. In the UK and Australia, 77% had to learn new skills themselves in order to do their jobs, as their school or university education had not prepared them for the workplace, compared to 66% in India
The workforce of tomorrow also understands that as technology increasingly takes away routine tasks, they will need to pursue lifelong learning to develop new skills and focuson“soft"skills that computers will not be as adept at handling.
Learning is a lifelong journey:Between 78% (Brazil) and 65% (China) of 16-25 year olds are willing to completely retrain if required.Around 80% of young people across all markets concur that continuous development of skills is essential to be successful in work.
The need for development of right-brain skills (or ‘soft skills’):Apparent across all regions is the role that communications, relationship-building and problem-solving abilities play in modern, technology-driven workplaces. While academic achievement was prioritized by between 50% (South Africa) and 36% (Germany), communications and on-the-job learning and problem-solving polled far higher. Communication skills polled between 86% (Australia) and 79% (Brazil), while on-the-job learning polled between 85% (Brazil) and 76% (Germany)
Finally, the study showed that job security was important for today’s youth, with the majority of them uninspired to work in volatile start-up ventures. Many, especially in developed economies, are reluctant to set up their own enterprises. Instead, they prefer employment with established large and mid-size companies. And the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers remainsprevalent, but it is much starker in developed countries than developing countries.
Unresolved gender gap in technology skills: Young men, across all countries surveyed, are more likely to have existing IT knowledge and the desire to advance these skills. In emerging markets such as India (81% male to 70% female) and China (68% male to 59% female) as well as developed economies such as the US (51% male to 42% female), the gap is far less pronounced with higher levels of perceived competency in the emerging economies. However, in other developed economies such as France (49% male to 24% female), Germany (49% male to 26% female) and the UK (62% male to 33% female), the gender gap in technology skills is significantly wider
Overall, young people are aware that theFourth Industrial Revolutionwill usher several disruptive forces in the job market: from the next-generation Internet of Things and Big Data, to work environments that will be drastically changed by automation, artificial intelligence and similar technologies. Today’s youth understands that it must be agile, open to learning and capable of operating in a global environment to build a long-term career path.
Vishal Sikka, CEO and Managing Director, Infosys, said,“Young people around the world cansee that new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, will enable them to reimagine the possibilities of human creativity, innovation and productivity. To empower these young people to thrive in this great digitaltransformation, our education systems must bring more focus tolifelong learning, experimentation and exploration – in addition to bringing computer science and technology more fundamentally into thecurriculum. Everyone of us can reimagine our circumstances, innovate and create, but oureducation systems must instill new ways of thinking, whichincludefinding the most importantproblems to solve, collaborating across diverse groups and learning from quick failures — so that each one of us canfindour own meaningful, purposeful work.”