Burgeoning job-hopping generation: How to embrace this demographic

Embracing the job-hopping generation by harnessing Power Skills

It’s no secret that the nature of work has shifted rapidly in recent years – we’ve all heard of newfound terms like The Great Resignation, quiet quitting, flexible working; the list goes on. But even more change is on the horizon as the next generation settles into the workforce, bringing new demands and aspirations for their careers. Young professionals today have aspirations to make an impact and are constantly looking at ways to upskill their knowledge.

In fact, for young Aussies it’s more about finding a job that meets individual expectations around broader factors like flexibility, adding value at the workplace, expanding one’s horizon of learning, work–life balance, etc. This begs the question, how do we help young learners build a strong foundation for employability and make them add value to their organisation?

From an organisational perspective, the question is how do we retain young talent? The answer lies in fostering a mindset and culture towards learning and capability development.

Skills that early learners can harness

While traditional teaching methods are valuable on paper, we must consider whether these pathways are doing enough to equip young professionals to succeed at work. This means being flexible, adaptive and applying technical and non-technical skills to real-world situations.

Research from PMI shows the value of emphasising power skills, once called soft skills, which are abilities and behaviours that facilitate working with others and enable project success. Notably, 93% of young professionals say these power skills allow them to work smarter.

Embracing the job-hopping generation by harnessing Power Skills

The research also revealed which four power skills young professionals say they need to fulfill organisational strategic objectives and work in a fast-paced, innovative environment are:

  • 69% Communication — Effective verbal and written skills help articulate ideas and address conflicts.
  • 69% Problem-solving — Analytical thinking and creative approaches help overcome obstacles, identify the root cause of issues and explore alternative solutions.
  • 61% Strategic thinking — The abilities to align projects with organizational goals, anticipate risks and identify opportunities are important.
  • 58% Collaborative leadership — Fostering teamwork and empowering team members help leaders inspire innovation and build trust.

Beyond power skills, young professionals should also recognise the value of micro-credentials or work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities to advance their careers. 44% of young professionals believe having a professional certification increases their earning potential and 33% believe certifications allow for greater career advancement opportunities.

For example, PMI certifications like CAPM are a great foundation to gain the right skills for a future of rising project demand. A focus on power skills and micro-credentials can elevate employability and leadership capabilities for young Aussies, by enabling them to be cross-functional employees who can task-hop and contribute value to various areas of business.

Organisational training methods to manage job-hoppers

According to the Talent Gap research report from PMI, the global economy will need 25 million new project managers by 2030. This ultimately presents a great opportunity for young professionals and a challenge for organisations who need to close the talent gap, by finding people with the skills to successfully manage project execution demands.

Embracing the job-hopping generation by harnessing Power Skills

However, Australian business leaders are facing barriers when it comes to skill development within their organisations, with 30% admitting they are still not prioritising power skills within their enterprise due to cost and lack of perceived value. In order to maintain success whilst managing turnover, organisations must prioritise training that enables employees to be resilient to change, adaptive and flexible, supported by strong foundational power skills.

Some tips to ensure young professionals are also taken care of at their workplaces include:

  • Provide training and development on power skills. Only 29% of training and development time is spent on power skills.
  • Reimburse certifications that help strengthen power skills. 76% of young professionals say they are more likely to pursue certifications if their employer offers reimbursement.
  • Discuss the importance of power skills and bake them into the organisation’s DNA. 61% of young professionals say power skills were discussed when they were hired or promoted.

Building an organizational foundation centered primarily on ‘the power of power skills’ will not only help Aussie businesses better navigate the job-hopping generation, but it will also ensure the right tools are in place to create a path for new leaders in the pipeline of talent.

Fostering a mindset and culture of learning

Embracing the job-hopping generation by harnessing Power Skills

People are one of the biggest assets in an organisation, and employees want to feel they have opportunities to grow and succeed in their role. Whilst power skills can assist in developing a talented workforce, fostering a mindset and culture of continuous learning is equally as critical in order to attract and retain talent – particularly the next generation.

This ongoing support is crucial, as 57% of young professionals that PMI surveyed say they are likely to leave their jobs due to the lack of professional development opportunities like mentorship, training and development and networking. Nearly one in five (17%) say they had zero hours of employer-provided training or professional development within the past year.

Tactics to foster a culture of learning and aid career growth of young professionals include:

  1. Emphasising mentoring and coaching
  2. Providing and supporting networking opportunities
  3. Promoting and rewarding employees for professional certifications and industry memberships

There is no one-size-fits-all career path, and it can be difficult for young professionals to navigate a profession with what feels like endless opportunities. Prioritising power skills and opportunities for young professionals to level-up their careers will be pivotal in closing the talent gap and helping the next generation to thrive, no matter which path they choose to take. It will also help them make their candidature more holistic and be more employable.

SoHyun Kang is the Regional Managing Director, Asia Pacific at Project Management Institute (PMI).

SoHyun Kang, Regional Managing Director, APAC, PMI