The world of work is changing, and fast. Like most major change, it presents exciting opportunities and deep uncertainties, depending on where you’re standing. So, how do we unleash the potential of young people to succeed in the future world of work?
This is the question we aim to answer at this year’s Futuremakers Forum, our three-day virtual engagement event focused on youth economic inclusion. Young people today hold the key to the success of many businesses tomorrow, yet they face real barriers to entering the workforce, not least the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, if businesses do not adapt to the needs of young people and help them transition to the future world of work, they will lose out in the long term.
The Forum, which coincides with the UN’s World Youth Skills Day (15 July) and its theme of ‘Reimagining youth skills for the present and future’, takes place at a critical time. Approximately 1.8 billion young people are due to start their working life over the next decade – and many will be starting their working life in a COVID-19 world. That’s why we’re convening business leaders, decision makers and young people now – to listen, share and co-create solutions to the challenges and opportunities around the future of work.
Our pre-Forum research into what young people and business leaders expect around the future of work has provided some helpful insights to kick-off the debate. Business leaders highlighted a range of skills they were looking for in their future workforce, mostly centred around human, empathic and problem-solving skills. The good news is that young people told us that they have some of those skills. But both groups agreed that digital and technical skills were lacking.
Access to opportunity also remains an issue. Young people feel their lack of experience or university education penalises them, preventing them getting work. Business leaders recommended that young people seek out internships or graduate programmes, really make efforts to understand the company, its ethos and purpose, and be targeted in their approach to applications. But can and should businesses do more? This is a new world of work after all, and new approaches need to be explored.
This is the part of the Forum that excites me most. It is a platform for young people and business leaders to come together – for young people to share their experiences and ideas and for business leaders to hear directly from the next generation about their hopes and expectations for a better workplace. I can’t wait to be part of this important conversation.
About the Futuremakers Forum
The Futuremakers Forum is part of Futuremakers by Standard Chartered, the Bank’s global initiative to tackle inequality by championing economic inclusion, one success story at a time. Since 2019, Futuremakers programmes have reached more than 366,000 young people across 35 markets.
Taking place virtually between 13-15 July and delivered with leading business-led social impact network Business Fights Poverty, the Forum is a platform where young people and business leaders can come together to listen, and learn from each other and collaborate on the future world of work. It will include sessions on mindfulness and motivation, a youth-led discussion with Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters, and quick-fire masterclasses for young people on topics such as building your personal brand and navigating jobs online.