A recent survey of Canada’s Millennials, which focused on their social values, has provided fascinating insight into, and ousted tiresome stereotypes about, this diverse generation. Bruce Lawson, President of The Counselling Foundation of Canada, one of the groups involved in doing the survey, offers crucial information: “An overwhelming 96% of Millennials in the study define having a steady job as the primary marker of adulthood – far more than owning a home, getting married or having children, which were key markers for previous generations. This underscores the need for career development to ensure Millennials have the skills, confidence and adaptability to navigate an ever-shifting economy.” This is exactly the focus of my upcoming webinars for CERIC and BCCDA: the need for career development to ensure Millennials transition effectively into adulthood even in this ever-shifting economy that is daily if not hourly impacted by technological innovation. At present, almost half of university educated Millennials slip into unemployment or under-employment and thereby do not transform into “adults.” Those who are under-employed fill jobs that are needed by youth who do not have post-secondary education. The over-arching question I ask in my webinars is: how can we harness technology in order to change this failure to launch for half of our university-educated Millennials and thereby improve employment opportunities for young Canadians today?
I believe we are at a significant turning point in career development for youth, profoundly related to the way in which technology informs our understanding, and it is this juncture that I will focus on and unpack in my webinars. New ways to present and market oneself, such as the landing page company Unbounce or the professional job-hunting and recruiting grounds of Linkedin offer young people advantages over past methods which limited reach and possibility. The rapid fire world of social media also gives Millennials opportunities job-hunters could not have even dreamt of in the past. Instant access to company issues, events, even day to day unfolding via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are just seconds away on Google. You know longer need to stare up at a job board where openings have been pinned on with a tack, now you search and find positions on multiple employment platforms. With all this technological innovation at Millennials’ fingertips, how is it possible that any of them struggle to transition into career-launching positions and thereby becoming adults?! And this is where we gain startling insights from technology itself. Instead of using new advances to present the self, search the world of employment and transition from school to work, I am going to explore in my webinars what we discover about youth when we use technology like fMRI and MRI in order to know more about the developing brains of young people.
A crucial, new discovery has been made by neuroscientists: the adolescent brain does not mature into an adult brain until approximately 24 or 25 years. Therefore, Millennials who seek jobs after high-school and even those who seek positions after four years of university, do not have fully matured brains. I will argue therefore in my webinars that as much as Career Development professionals need to know about technological advances that impact our outer world, they also need to be up-to-date on what science tells us via technological advances about our young clients’ brains.
When I ran a pilot program for C2Careers in the fall of 2016, I taught university grads that neuroscience offers us as a far better way to understand career-launching. I wanted them to conduct themselves in a way that did not ignore their brain development, but instead, harnessed it. They were fascinated and empowered by this approach. During the April webinars, I am excited to share the impact of technology in Millennials’ transition from school to work in terms of its ability to present the self, make connections, and provide information while at the same time examine, with my colleagues in the career counselling world, how it changes our understanding of youth via technology advancing our knowledge of their stage of brain development. The key learning objectives in the April webinars are:
- To assess the advantages and disadvantages various tech innovations offer to Millennials as they navigate the workplace and seek employment
- To examine ways Millennial tech expertise might be better harnessed in the work place
- To draw on neuroscientific research to improve the school to work transition and re-think our present approaches
I hope you’ll join me!
Jennifer Fraser has a PhD from U of T in Comparative Literature. Her research and publications revolve around empowering and educating young people. Her interest in career development was sparked by writing letters of reference for high-school students over the course of 20 years. In December 2015, Fraser was brought onboard Vancouver startup C2Careers, to develop and design curriculum that would help college and university graduates launch their careers. She now teaches in a transformative “career bootcamp” where Millennials engage in live business challenges, and apply career theory, tools and techniques to explore passion, purpose and academic skills.