In the not-so-distant past, finding a company that would train a worker was the rule, but today it’s the exception. Washington Post notes that in 1979 companies offered as much as 2.5 weeks a year in training to its employees as opposed to 11 hours in today's business world. While less training may be put down to a far more hectic and productive business environment, the fact is that the lessened training regimen is due to the fact that businesses are wary of training employees that don’t stay with the business. It's a waste of investment and the preference for already-trained employees are showing in the kinds of people being hired for corporate positions today. Sadly, the majority of young, fresh-faced workers are not finding it a positive move by companies to not invest in their futures. Many of them have decided the professional corporate world run by companies like these isn't where they want to be.
Finding Your Own Path
For a long time, young people have been advised to find jobs that they enjoy doing in order to have an easier time in a job they will probably be holding for the majority of their lives. While this would hold in a corporate environment where a young person could be trained and then develop within a niche, it's clear that the current corporate environment is not interested in training their new employees properly. In a recent poll, Gallup noted that the younger generation are disenchanted with their full-time jobs. As a result, the turnover that companies face from this disillusionment plays into their suspicions about younger workers deserting the company, encouraging them into the line of thought that has led to such a drastic reduction in training hours for younger employees. This has also led to the younger generation seeking their skills elsewhere and doing what it takes to hone those skills on their own.
Massive Open Online Courses and Training Today
There are a couple dozen sites that offer what are termed Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which can train a student via video and slide tutorials in the art of almost anything. These courses cover corporate skills such as medical transcription and the advanced use of Microsoft Office products to things like personal finance management and budgeting. Thanks to the open format of the courses and flexibility of instructors, students of any previous learning level can use these courses to their benefit, giving them training that a corporate environment wouldn't.
Creating Their Own Competition
Younger employees who realize that they can train themselves have gone one step further and have created their own private freelancing practice. In fact, in the younger generation of workers, Upwork has noticed that as many as 47% of millennials consider themselves freelancers. That's almost a full half of that population demographic's entire size. This stems from how easy it is to become a freelancer, how lucrative it can be, and the lack of corporate culture to stymie their ambition. Furthermore, by investing their money into learning new skills or improving the ones they already have, they can open up new markets to freelance in. In some cases, they are a formidable force competing against the very companies that wouldn't hire and train them in the first place.
Understanding Where This Puts Us
The traditional method of hiring and training has to change if a company intends to source talent from the youngest working demographic. Alternatively, instead of fighting the tide, we can tap into it. Businesses are already hiring freelancers at an increasing pace and this allows a business to leverage the talent of those individuals, albeit as a far higher price than they would if they were hiring them as regular workers. The tradeoff is clear - either invest in the working youth of today to gain their expertise later, or pay for it in large chunks when we hire them as freelancers. The choice is ours.
Tanmoy is a senior consultant and a passionate speaker in the area of training and development. He has a dual MBA (Finance & Marketing) and an Electronics Engineering degree. He is married and currently lives in Toronto, Canada.