Emerging Futures: Equality, diversity and inclusion practices for youth

Posted in: Diversity, Employers, Future of Work, Gender equality

The Future of Work research centre recently hosted Emerging Futures: Empowering Youth in a Changing World of Work, a one-day workshop exploring the challenges and opportunities facing young people. In this post, centre Director Professor Yasin Rofcanin examines how ED&I is a key issue for youth in the workplace.

The transition from education to employment is one of the grand challenges facing today’s generation of employees. According to the Youth Voice Census 2023 Report, those making this move feel disconnected from their future and unheard of in terms of their workplace concerns.

A damning prospect facing them is the mismatch between what they might value and strive to achieve in their careers, and the prospects offered by employers. However, a unique feature of today’s generation is that they are more proactive about their values and more vocal about the everyday concerns they encounter. They aim to work in places that cater to and encourage equal employment practices, ensuring diversity, equality and inclusion (EDI) policies are implemented.

Taking stock of such challenges, what are some of the policy alternatives and initiatives companies can adopt and implement to ensure EDI is in place for young employees?

Businesses can benefit from two new concepts – idiosyncratic deals (i-deals) and value crafting – to cater to youth's growing and individualised needs. How can these tools be developed and implemented?


Career ideals

Young employees can benefit from the idea of individualised career development opportunities and counselling to facilitate their career growth and learning pathways. The definition of ‘career’ has garnered a new meaning and the traditional, linear pathway is no longer valid for most employees: young employees will become accustomed to the idea of receiving individualised advice.


Value crafting

In the context of the growing value mismatch between current employers and future potential employees, it is important to facilitate a platform for value crafting: This is a new concept where organisations can develop and implement training interventions to refigure, uphold and reimagine work and personal values.

These training platforms are likely to operate as tools for understanding, developing and adopting employees’ values among the expectations of the organisation.


Embracing human resource management differentiation

Another appealing new reality is the potential to customise various HR practices for employees’ unique needs and preferences. At present, the divide between what companies offer and what employees expect is significant. This situation will be exacerbated, especially with the entrance of young employees to the market.

A growing recognition may underline the companies that cater to the individualised HR preferences of young employees and those that can take the stride to keep these new talents happy.


Investment in sustaining talent

It takes a while to realise, work on and seize the benefits of one’s talent in the employment market. Employers should be leading the way in making sure young people receive the right type and amount of training to develop their skills, deploy their understanding and implement their knowledge in a practice-driven setting.


A culture supportive of non-work lives

Another key feature of inclusivity relates to the development of flexibility around non-work environments, sometimes referred to as ‘family-supportive work contexts’. The existence of such climates and settings ensures that employees from all walks of life – with a focus on differences in gender, race, ethnicity and preferences – all feel welcome and part of the working environment.

The presence of such an environment ensures that the work setting, managerial support, policies and practices do not hinder the promotion of diverse employees; instead, they support the full inclusion of young employees, recognising and championing their differences.

Posted in: Diversity, Employers, Future of Work, Gender equality

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