Notably, Amazon has announced layoffs and has delayed or even withdrawn job offers. This raises questions not only about the state of the tech industry but also about the future of work for recent STEM college graduates.
HR Dive conducted a temperature check and spoke with four early-career talent specialists about the future of work in tech industries and how HR professionals can support young talent in those industries.
NAF’s senior director of alumni and post-secondary engagement, Keisha Stephenson Taylor (she/her),
Keisha Stephenson Taylor, who provides young talent with job opportunities and networking opportunities, told
“What we’re seeing is that a lot of skills necessary for the workforce are what we would probably call ‘soft skills.’ They’ve been really essential to what we feel strengthens a candidate for multiple types of employment,” Taylor said.
These skills include collaboration and communication, problem-solving and success-planning, and the ability to be self-directed. Beyond cultivating what NAF refers to as “future-ready skills,” HR pros can ultimately keep providing learning and development opportunities, Taylor said.
Talent professionals should emphasize the importance of teamwork and team dynamics, critical thinking, and mindfulness of “inclusive and equitable practices,” she said. HR teams should provide leadership opportunities “even for the most junior staff,” Taylor added.
Clare Bertrand (she/they), Jobs for the Future’s senior director of career exploration, decision-making, and navigation and JFF’s Lifelong Learning Unit
From Clare Bertrand’s perspective, the economy has felt “really fragile” for about a decade. Bull and bear markets come with the territory — but, Bertrand told HR Dive, “I feel like there’s just been a continuous instability, especially since the pandemic.” And while layoffs, Silicon Valley or otherwise, don’t bode well for the rest of the U.S., Bertrand wants to broaden the scope of job market peril conversations.
“Not everyone in the United States is employed by Big Tech, but we’re all going to feel the squeeze. Most of the time young adults are concentrated in low-paying occupations and in fields such as food service and retail,” they told HR Dive. Young talent in tech includes graduates with a four-year computer science degree, as well as people enrolled in coding programs or other forms of short-term credentialing.
Young tech talent pools also include workers who are dually enrolled or going to school part-time, who are “more likely to be concentrated in those lower paying occupations.”
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Those low-wage jobs won’t disappear, Bertrand explained. “But that means that there’s a lack of advancement. And also, as you know, inflation increases and wages kind of stay the same,” she said, underscoring this phenomenon’s impact on long-term wage growth for young talent.
Tami Forman (she/her), executive director of Path Forward
The biggest trend affecting the post-grad job search experience is the transition to remote and hybrid work, Tami Forman told HR Dive via email. “It certainly opens more opportunities when you can work from anywhere. But it can be tough to build early career skills from home,” she said.
“HR professionals should be mindful of creating great onboarding experiences and be intentional about creating mentorship opportunities, both virtually and, where applicable, in person,” she continued. “Just bringing young workers into an office if no one else is there isn’t going to help.” Executives should therefore be purposeful in creating “the right environment” for young talent to thrive, she said.
In response to reports that companies such as Amazon have delayed new hire start dates and rescinded job offers, Forman expressed sympathy for student job seekers. “I understand, as someone who graduated into a bad job market in the 1990s. It’s unfortunate and adds stress to an already stressful situation
Alba Martinez (JFF’s young adult voice and engagement intern; Dickinson College junior)
Alba Martinez, Bertrand’s colleague who also joined us on the call, shared her professional and personal thoughts on the future of work for recent graduates. Her message to young talent, which talent acquisition teams should remember, is that just because a job seeker has a degree in a certain subject does not mean they are qualified.
Source: HR Dive