How can we better prepare young people to be our future leaders?

What’s the problem?

Alt text Young people are feeling disengaged from society and disinterested in democracy. It doesn’t bode well for our future leaders. However, as the Foundation for Young Australians says, “young people are not a problem to be helped or solved. Young people are ambitious, creative and capable of rethinking the world and solving tomorrow’s problems today”.

The optimism and passion that is evident in our young people is there to harness. Future generations (including those yet to be born) need today’s corporate sector as well as governments and the wider community to take notice of their values, preferences and skills. They require us to be able to talk, discuss, negotiate, break down barriers and push limits in order to mould an Australian society that is the best we can make it.

Seven things you need to know

  • A 2005-2008 Australian citizenship study found that, for Australians aged 15–17 years, 62% felt comfortable and that they belonged in online communities, and only 40% felt the same way about their physical neighbourhoods.

  • A 2013 Lowy Institute Poll found that less than half (48%) of young Australians (18–29-year-olds) say they prefer democracy over any other kind of government.

  • According to research conducted by GoodBiz Network in 2015, the Gen Z, iGen or Post- Millennials will be the new driving force in the workplace. They view corporate social responsibility in a pragmatic way and “will demand more ethical and sustainable products and services and are willing to pay a premium for it. They will favour companies that are ‘doing good’ given that they are involved in social change programs since very young age themselves.”

  • Today, the national average tenure in a job is 3.3 years, largely based on voluntary turnover. If this trend continued through the life of today’s school leaver, they will have 17 different employers in their lifetime and potentially five or more career changes.

  • More than half of young Australian students are currently getting educated for occupations where the vast majority of current jobs won’t exist in 15 years.

  • In a 29 country survey of Millenials by Deloitte, it was found that 44% of Millennials, if given the choice, would leave their current employers in the next two years. A perceived lack of leadership-skill development and feelings of being overlooked are compounded by larger issues around work/life balance, the desire for flexibility, and a conflict of values.

  • Millennials seek employers with similar values. They want to work for a business to focuses less on profit and more on people (employees, customers, and society), products, and purpose.

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