On Friday 10th of July 2015, entrepreneurs, educators, employers and students got together for the first edition of The Forum Series in Malaysia, hosted by Leadapreneur Sdn. Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur. The aim of the event was to bring together a diverse group of participants and draw on their skills and expertise to create the new standard for Gen-Y employment.
GPAs have a basic use in employability by setting a minimum benchmark; however, GPAs are no longer sufficient to get a job let alone a good one. There is a growing trend that GPAs are not even necessary for employment and there is a growing problem that students who have good GPAs are not “work-ready”.
Students with good GPAs but few competencies, no sense of direction and little experience will struggle to get good jobs. This creates large graduate under and unemployment as well as depriving employers of the talent they need.
From an employer perspective, GPAs do not provide sufficient insight into the capability of the individual for a particular role and their suitability to fit into a company culture.
Top students highly value workplace culture, rapid career progression and the ability to express creativity and drive innovation. Employers who do not provide these will struggle to retain top Gen-Y talent.
Ensuring the right ‘fit’ is important for graduates and employers. Employers want graduates who fit well into their roles and the company culture whereas students want to work in organisations that value & respect their individuality and have a positive work-place culture.
“There is no encouragement for creativity & self-discovery” ~ David Bassey, student at INTI International University & College
With the keynote speeches delivered by Leadapreneur co-founder Jan Bartscht, Incitement co-founder Zikry Kholil and Wobb founder Derek Toh, the participants gained key insights on the limitations of GPAs in recruiting and developing talent, the importance of culture fit and the increasing need for meaning in Gen-Y’s careers.
Drawing on the expertise of the participants, the discussion centered on identifying the changes that need to happen at the student, employer and recruiter level to provide a significant shift in Gen-Y employability. It became clear that students need to get involved in activities and projects beyond their classroom and beyond their GPAs to develop skills employers would be looking for such as leadership, innovation and entrepreneurial skills. For Gen-Y to be successful, they need to show a proactive attitude in getting to know themselves and have a clearly defined vision of what value they want to add to the world around them.
For educators, the recommendations were to provide real-life projects and case studies to offer a well-rounded feel of the professional world. Educators would not only be teachers but facilitators in class work and discussions. Their role would also entail encouraging their students to take a gap year in order to dedicate themselves to expand their horizons and self-knowledge through travel, voluntary work or long-term project development.
Last but not least, employers need to start innovating the sourcing of their candidates and look beyond their GPAs as a criteria for recruitment. Engaging actively with universities and providing more passion-based projects to their new recruits would increase Gen-Y’s engagement and retention within the company. It was also identified to be of crucial importance to clearly outline the company’s work style, culture and values upon recruitment to awaken a sense of belonging and commitment in Gen-Y candidates.
Overall, The Forum provided a necessary space for students, educators and employers in their respective industries and behaviours to tackle the challenges posed by Gen-Y recruitment. Most importantly, it was important for the attendees to gain awareness about the limitations of GPAs as meaningful criteria for recruitment and retention.
PRESENTING A NEW APPROACH TO RECRUITMENT
Students should be able to answer these questions as they are the ones that really matter, meanwhile employers should know what answers they are looking for.
1. What value can you create for us? Describe:
a. What will you create?
b. Why do you believe that is useful for us?
c. How do you expect to be rewarded?
2. How will you work with us and fit into our culture? Describe your:
a. Attitude, behaviour and drive using relevant examples.
b. Relevant competencies and communities of practice.
c. Key experiences and achievements.
3. Why do you want to work with us? Describe:
a. Why are you interested in our company?
b. What do you want to learn?
c. How much time will you commit to working with us?
4. Describe the following using relevant examples:
a. Your people & leadership skills. Share your stories of how you inspired people to work together and adapt to change.
b. Your creativity & innovation skills. Share your stories of how you created innovations that unlocked new possibilities and solutions.
c. Your organisation and management skills. Share your stories of how you achieved impressive performance and results.
5. Describe interesting and useful:
a. People and organisations you have worked with.
b. Technologies and ideas you want to explore.
c. Business models, markets and opportunities you are excited about
The participants gathered into creative circles to brainstorm and discuss how educators, employers and students should improve Gen-Y recruitment. Below is a summary of what was shared and presented for each respective stakeholder: