Sunday, March 3, 2024

Millennials Aren’t as Tech Savvy as People Think – Why We’re Being Left Behind in the Job Market (And What We Can Actually Do About It)

How many times have you, dear millennial, received a call from a family member asking why the TV won’t turn on, or how to get ‘The Netflix’?

Or, how many times has your boss in the office asked you to explain what SEO is, or why a button on the website isn’t doing anything?

While most of us can figure out how to set up a Netflix subscription, when it comes to digital skills, millennials aren’t as tech savvy as our boomer buddies might think.

And it’s already having an impact in the job market as more and more employers are discovering the missing skills in our digital arsenal.

The thing is is that while us millennials are tech savvy, we’re not tech native – and just because we use technology a lot, it doesn’t mean we know how it works. Technology is advancing at such a rapid rate that it almost seems impossible to keep up, but according to experts, we’re already behind the curve.

A report commissioned by non-profit organisation Change the Equation, which focuses on STEM literacy, shows that a huge 58% of millennials have failed to master tech skills that directly help to increase workplace productivity, despite the large amount of hours spent using digital platforms.

Says CEO Linda Rosen, “This current generation of young people has never lived without tech, it’s second nature to them.” But just because we can Instagram up a storm, it doesn’t mean we know how to utilise digital skills in other areas of our lives, she adds. “Information drenches society…part of being technologically savvy is being able to organise it so you can wrap your head around it.”

Cast your minds back to the 2000’s for a second. When we were at school in ICT class – God remember ICT – skills such as coding, website building, social media management and analytic analysis were still so specialised, and even things like content management systems were deemed too niche for us to learn (but thank GOD we became proficient in HyperStudio, said no one ever.)

Are you as confused as this fellow Millennial?

Studies have even been done on our lack of abilities – and believe it or not, we even have millennial experts now. Such an expert is Jason Dorsey, who also runs the Centre for Generational Kinetics.

“What were discovered a few years ago is that millennials aren’t actually tech savvy, but tech dependent… they don’t know how technology works, they just know they can’t live without it,” he says, adding that millennials are far more likely to bluff knowledge in an area when asked, then try their best to figure out how it works after the fact (by Googling, I’m assuming?!)

YES HI THAT’S ME.

With the world changing at such a fast rate, the fact of the matter is that us millennials have been resting on our laurels – and un-earned digital native reputations – for too long, and it’s costing us in the post-lockdown job market, especially as Kiwis have the tendency to complete all of our education before our mid-twenties, and never learn again.

Basics such as how to build and maintain a website, or how to set up and confidently run social media channels, SEO, Google Analytics, Google Ads, data input and analysis and email databases are now expected in many businesses, no matter what kind, and it’s an overwhelming thought to try and figure out so many new skills on your own.

So, what can you do about it?

We spoke to Seek’s resident psychologist Sabina Read who talked through some of the steps Kiwis can take for making sure they’re on the right path when it comes to landing a dream job, and says that short courses and classes are a great way to upskill where you’ve found gaps in your knowledge.

Tertiary provider The Mind Lab is an organisation is currently helping Kiwis do exactly that, with their seven-week Digital Skills in the Workplace course that teaches students vital skills and helps with confidence in a digital workplace – and in recognition of the effect the pandemic has had on all of us, is currently free for all eligible New Zealanders.

Whether you’re an individual or a small business owner, the course is perfect for getting the upper hand in the job market and in your chosen industry, and will teach you all of the previously mentioned skills, as well as communication platforms such as Slack, project management tools like Trello, mind-mapping (Mindmo), online design sites such as Canva and video editing tools like WeVideo and OpenShot.

Skills such as Canva will be taught in The Mind Lab’s Digital Skills in the Workplace micro-credential

The Mind Lab founder Frances Valintine says they’re determined to help as many Kiwis find their digital feet, especially after a tough 2020.

“The Mind Lab is about identifying gaps in education, and creating innovative programmes to fill them, which is exactly how Digital Skills for the Workplace came about. With the effects of Covid-19 heading well into 2021 and beyond, this programme helps people navigate digital technologies, improving business flexibility and hireability. Training budgets have been cut so we are removing that barrier and aiming to upskill as many Kiwis in 2021 as possible.”

For more information on Digital Skills in the Workplace, click here.

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