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China Crisis

Optimize Blog - July 21, 2011 - 0 comments

In both one to one leadership coaching and the group courses that we run, a common source of angst shared by the more ‘mature’ managers is the alarming sense of entitlement often demonstrated by younger employees and perhaps youth in general. This apparently manifests itself in the wrong type of work ethic – with the older generation seemingly aghast that the expectations of this younger generation are way beyond those that they had, when they were starting out their careers.
There is little doubt that some of this can be attributed to ‘broad brush’ labelling of whole generation but, here at Zeitgeist, we do enjoy the irony that (as parents) we have worked hard to provide for our children ‘all the things’ that we never had in our youth… and now we berate them for having the audacity to enjoy those things.
As the world continues to drag itself out of the recession, despite some country debt positions doing their best to de-rail things, job markets are picking up. According to the UN there are around 81 million people globally actively looking for work. So we were interested to read about a recent job fair in Beijing where more than 200 businesses were represented looking to hire youngsters. There are over 6 million graduates in China looking for work – more than ten times the number from just a decade ago.
This year, more than 1.4 million people applied for civil service jobs when there were only 16,000 positions on offer. In China it is not uncommon for a graduate to apply for over 100 jobs. Long gone are the days where jobs were assigned by the government and the last 30 years of economic expansion in China has sent expectations soaring as China retains its place as the second biggest economy in the world.
So with that much choice you may think that China’s business owners are happy. Well not necessarily. Many business owners continue to express their concerns that while the graduates are well educated, they do not have specific skills training and cannot be compared with the more traditional trades and craftsmen. One business owner interviewed was lamenting the fact that graduates think that they can do anything but in reality they are just not up to the job.
The issue then appears to be a global one. But this is our reality and as leaders it is a situation that has to be dealt with and handled well. It is not going to solve anything to simply bemoan the attitude of young people today – it is a leadership accountability to motivate each individual to achieve their potential. Businesses can’t afford to wait for another generation and hope that the new one will be better – the issue is a current one and one that needs to be managed effectively today, because after all we have businesses to run.
What are you doing today to engage that individual in your team with the apparent fatal flaw of entitlement? Take time to understand what motivates that individual and work hard on creating a development plan which will realize that individual’s potential because one thing is for sure, complaining won’t get the job done.

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