I have been seeing the graduation photos of the class of 2020 on my FB feed. Parents watching ceremonies via video streaming. I also have a daughter who is finishing her university degree this year. She has ventured onto campus so she can experience the newly renovated spaces at UTS given studies and group collaboration is all online.
It has been tough year for younger adults completing higher education exams or graduating from courses. They have been impacted more than any other cohort in a long time. Research from The Centre for Social Research (CSR) found that 213,000 young Australians aged between 15 -24 years lost their jobs in March alone. A further 484,000 reported working fewer hours. This does not take into account the loss of internship opportunities or work experience placements.
The situation is the same overseas. Global Millennial Survey Research by Deloitte reveals that 1 in 5 young adults were put out of work in April. With another 27% of Millennials and 23% of Gen Ys working fewer hours.
It's all adding an extra layer of anxiety to a group experiencing the highest levels of depression and stress in our society. How will the pandemic impact how they view life and work?
The Global Millennial survey conducted by Deloitte revealed that the pandemic has given them increased empathy and an eagerness to make a positive impact. They want see a reset post covid by leading the change they want to see. The Covid response by officials and business has shown them what collective consciousness can achieve. It has given them hope that the environment can regenerate, there is empathy for those vulnerable in our communities, and leaders can step up to do the right thing.
As experienced business leaders we have a responsibility to mentor them through this time. Providing ways for them to contribute and find their voice to challenge the status quo. They are not looking to go back to the way things were. With kindness as the starting point, they want to reinvent the way we live.
We need their vision, skills and ideas more than ever. If we can't change our ways, let's be the mentors that help them bring to life the positive change they want to achieve.