How we will outmaneuver the threat of the "Lost Generation"


A recent article in Business Week  alerts its readers to the looming threat of a “Lost Generation” if young people are unable to find meaningful employment out of college.

They cite problems such as:
  • Multiple generations competing for jobs emerging in the recovery
  • Delayed skills acquisition
  • Loss of work ethic due to loss of work time
  • Entire generations from UK to Japan unable to contribute as richly to social security plans

image courtesy of Business Week. Please click the image to go to their story.

image courtesy of Business Week. Please click the image to go to their story.

Economists are concerned, and are calling for government action. This news is not really news, to us. We have heard of whole social movements, like 80 millions strong call for government action now since the onset of the current malaise.

We sense that stop-gap measures from the government will be very faint, if not non-existent, due to the nature of our initiative-based, private-sector-oriented economy. Put simply, the young people will find that the savior of their generation, Barak Obama, will have little input into the solution. And this is not his fault. It is simply the nature of the modern economy, where nations dervive benefit from an active and engaged citizenry, and that government acts less as a stimulant than a lender-of-last-resort.

At Next we believe that collective action must not take the form of a government-sponsored make-work program. There may not be sufficient money supply, and tax base, to do this beyond employing hundreds of new IRS agents (though this is happening). The majority of our younger people cannot depend on working for the government forever, and this administration does not bank on it, either.

What our organization assumes is what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Put another way, we know that if business can actively source talent that directly supports its base of emerging and consistent operations, that they will. Business will take the steps it needs in order to resume productive earning behaviors, and if that means obtaining talent that is superior and bespoke to their needs, then so be it. They will.

Students, too, don’t necessarily want to work on contract at the census bureau (though some will, to be sure). Students are focused on obtaining work with organizations that have some future pertinence to their majors, and the time invested in their studies.

The secret to what a student most wants to do is inside their research papers, thesis work, projects and essays. Professors have asked for their most personally motivating material to be generated (I know, because I am one). This means that the vital DNA that expresses what makes a student stand out has already been exhibited; the paper, the thesis all contain signs of what the student is expert in. When give the chance to pursue their own academic interests, they chose clearly what motivates them the most.

Truth be told, one of the leading reasons why young people are not hired is because there is no way to know what they know, and thus they represent a risk to the employer.

Now, because we have the Next Acropolis, corporations can actually know who cares about their industry, and what those folks are really interested in. And the results of schmoozing, talking to receptionists, applying for jobs online, and networking can be distilled in a few minutes of internet usage. Now, business can source the talent it needs to stay profitable in the downturn, and students can become available to fill the jobs they desire/need.

The landscape of employment cannot resemble a charity. And it probably won’t — the government cannot fairly administer charity jobs to one group but not another — not with a civil rights president at the helm. The Obama Paradox, if I may, will likely result in a global labor market where we all pull ourselves up by our bootstraps — doing the work we were meant to do, for the employers who most need us.

Indeed, the future we see is not a dystopia at all, but one in which hiring does happen because it can.

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About stefan bund

Founder of Next Acropolis. MS in Information Systems and Technology, Claremont Graduate University... Background in software engineering and teaching.
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