WhatsApp, Facebook and Blackberry messenger are all now vital channels of communication in the lives of most young people, with the average smartphone user checking their device over 100 times a day. It's clear that new innovations in technology are continuing to make communication easier in a plethora of formats and this is simply set to continue. However, this increase in non-verbal communication may actually be opening the door to serious consequences for the younger generation.
We recently carried out a study which compared the preferred working behaviour of 1 695 school pupils to nearly one hundred thousand (91 044) working population profiles, using our PPA assessment tool to provide an indication of candidates' likely behaviour at work. This assessment measures four key factors: Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Compliance (C), and everyone that takes the assessment will be led by one of these factors.
The results have shown a key trend amongst the next generation; that they are set to be entrepreneurial and assertive self-starters. Twice as many young people's profiles contained the high dominance factor. This means they're likely to have a fear of failure and a desire for freedom, authority, power and material reward as part of their working lives. All these characteristics show that young people are extremely headstrong with the potential to succeed. So far, so good.
However, whilst it seems that young people are going to be armed with the entrepreneurial skills to prosper when they enter the world of work, the study actually showed a 22% reduction in the number of young people with influence led profiles. Those with influence led profiles are 'people people' that are friendly and extremely verbally communicative. They're the colleague that has the ability to woo prospective clients with ease, or the friend that has always built relationships with everyone around them. They have interpersonal qualities which are in high demand in a range of working environments, from small enterprises through to large corporates.
This 22% reduction indicates that young people now perhaps have a tendency to overly rely on technology to communicate. This means that they're not actually developing the real people skills that are so often sought after in the work place. That's a very real and big issue not only for the young people themselves, but for parents, businesses, and ultimately the workplace of the future and it needs some serious consideration.
We need to ensure we're equipping our young people with the right tools to enable them to excel in the workplace. If we don't address this issue now and the trend continues, not only will it hinder their abilities to get the right job and stay in it, it may potentially bring about challenges for businesses, big or small, as the next generation workforce may struggle to conform to boundaries set by those in positions of authority and find entry level positions extremely difficult.
What is needed is a healthy serving of self-awareness and insight to address this issue. Understanding the next generations' strengths, limitations, communication styles and motivations is key to aligning them with the workforce of the future. We've already seen this work to decrease the number of students joining those Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETs), by providing them with a better understanding of themselves through psychometric assessments early on. And it can work for businesses too, giving them a level of insight they can use to make sure they're getting the right people for the right job, and are getting the most out of them along the way.