Four considerations for the next generation of talent

6 min read | Simon Winfield | Article | People and culture Flexible and hybrid working Career development | Upskilling

 next generation of talent

Summer always marks a turning point for a number of age groups. 18-year-olds collect their A-level results, pupils receive their GCSE marks and some students reach the end of their university courses. Yet in the world of work in 2023, what’s different for this generation of talent taking their next step?

Over the last 10 to 20 years, certainly for white collar roles, the path towards working life has been geared towards A-levels and further study at university, before looking for a job or applying for a graduate scheme. In 2023, as the skills needed for different roles are constantly evolving, does the ‘traditional’ route into work need a shake-up and is it allowing employers to access a diverse range of talent?

Here are four considerations for the next generation of talent as they begin their journey into the world of work:

Having more than one career will become the norm

The notion of a ‘job for life’ is undoubtedly outdated and for those leaving education now it’s highly unlikely you’ll work with the same employer for a lengthy period of time. Furthermore, as our working lives are extended as many of us will live for longer, the possibility for a mix of different careers is becoming more realistic by the day.

“As our working lives are extended as many of us will live for longer, the possibility for a mix of different careers is becoming more realistic by the day.”

Even if you set out on a ‘traditional’ career path such as training to be an accountant, or a quantity surveyor, this might not be where you end up due to the world of work evolving at a faster rate than ever before.

Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis are champions of squiggly careers, shifting the focus from titles to talents, from career plans to possibilities, from learning that is limited by levels, to learning that is limitless for all. Getting your head around this concept will be really beneficial as you enter the workplace.

Employers will provide other routes for entry

Skills shortages have challenged employers for years and as more new jobs and careers enter the labour market, finding the right talent will continue to be difficult. The more that employers can remove barriers to entry across a range of industries and roles, the more inclusive our workplaces will become. We’ve already started to see significant progress with some employers removing degree requirements from roles or dropping the prerequisite for certain grades.

It’s not to say that having a degree will cease to be relevant, however, unless you’re studying for a specific vocation – such as doctor, engineer, physicist, or therapist – or you simply want to learn within a university setting, there’s a compelling argument for less costly routes to kickstart your career.  

If you’re just coming out of education, it’s well worth researching what opportunities there are to learn and earn at the same time for example. The world of work is moving faster than most university curricula, and instead the opportunities to learn through practical application in the workplace will always be relevant.

Working in the office will be beneficial for you

Today’s workplace is more flexible than ever before. Hybrid working has been broadly adopted by most employers, and some are testing out new ways of working including the four-day week and the nine-day fortnight.

Whilst flexibility in terms of where you work is important, at the start of your career immersing yourself in an office environment cannot be underestimated. Working remotely and being away from the office too much can have a knock-on effect on learning and risks creating feelings of disconnect from team members. It’s really important to be able to build a bond with co-workers and learn from other members of the team, which is much more difficult to do in a remote setting.

Learning through osmosis and getting to build your connections face-to-face will be really beneficial – whilst having the opportunity to socialise and network with your colleagues outside of work can’t be replicated remotely, something we learned during lockdowns.

Be open to change and opportunity

There are so many factors that have changed the world of work in the last five years alone, and constant developments in technology such as AI will mean the pace of change will only hasten further. Being open minded about where your place in the world of work will take you means you’re not restricted to opportunities that come your way.

"Being open minded about where your place in the world of work will take you means you’re not restricted to opportunities that come your way."

Take AI for example. In our latest research over half (51%) of employers say they do not have the right skills in their workforce to make the best use of AI tools and technology. That’s huge potential right there for new entrants to the workforce to get to grips with AI and constantly upskill as the technology develops.

Upskilling will be a vital component to a successful career, whether that’s taking learning courses via your future employer or ensuring you’re constantly pursuing your professional development in your own time by networking and getting involved with industry groups.


About this author

Simon Winfield, Managing Director, Hays UK & Ireland

Simon joined Hays in 2006, having commenced his recruitment career in 1993. Initially responsible for our businesses in Western Australia and Northern Territory, Simon relocated to the UK in 2014 where he was responsible for our operations in the West & Wales and Ireland, before being appointed Managing Director of the UK & Ireland business in 2018.

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