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Materiały Prasowe,
09.12.2023 18:30

These days, young people enter the labour market at an earlier and earlier age. Are skills, knowledge and competences are enough?

Some young people start thinking about their future and career while still at school, others began their independent life when they start their studies, but all of them, in one way or another, are determined exploring various job opportunities. However, young people’s experiences are not always so easy and joyful, independent living is not without a struggle, thus many young people have to face a variety of very diverse challenges or difficulties.

Willingness to meet one’s needs

While society and its attitudes over time undergo changes, and technologies are becoming integral part of our lives, making it easier to carry out certain everyday activities, one thing will probably never change – we always were and always will be putting our personal needs before everything else. So, while there may be many reasons why young people are so eager to join the labour market, they mostly revolve around meeting the same needs, and the stories of the young people prove it.

"I work not because I have a hard time making a living or because I need more than my parents can provide. I work because I don’t think my parents should give me money for entertainment, for example, going out on Friday night, traveling or skiing trips with my friends," says working student Eglė (the name was changed, it is known for the editor).

Eglė is only twenty-one years old, but she has already tried a number of jobs in her life. While some of them still evoke good memories, make her feel good about the past experiences, new acquaintances and friendships she has made, in order meet her needs Eglė has also tried some job positions where she not only had to deal with a heavy workload and salary that does not correspond the effort, but also with an unmotivating environment.

"I have worked in a sushi restaurant, wanted to make some money for my travels, build up some savings. I didn’t even plan to stay there for long, but wanted to get out of there as soon as possible because it was a hell on Earth to work with my colleague. The pay was not motivating either, so I would never go back there even though I managed to combine work and studies very well, which is very important for a young person," Eglė shares.

According to Eglė, employers’ attitudes towards workers sometimes surprise a lot.

"For me it seemed very strange that such a big company, a big restaurant group, could not afford paying an employee 4 Eur an hour. I was paid 3.5 Eur, which is very low. Of course, there were bonuses, so they helped a little, but in order to get a bonus you have to achieve a certain turnover, which is not so easy either," she said.

However, Eglė said that even a low salary sometimes worth suffering for a good colleagues and work atmosphere. Unfortunately, work in this particular sushi restaurant did not give her that, but in the job she has now she managed to befriend her co-workers, and she has noticed that not only is her motivation to work growing, but her emotional state is also really good.

"When I was working at the sushi restaurant, I felt bad because it was not nice. I was not having a good time. Every day, I was thinking about quitting, not coming back. This year I have been working all summer in a job where I feel great, my emotional state does not suffer. I am having a great time because of the wonderful team and the fact that I’m working outdoors, which is a big advantage. I feel like I’ve had a break from my studies, and I’ve had a quality break emotionally too, although it’s been very busy," Eglė shared.

Student life suffers

As Delfi has reported previously, youth employability and entrepreneurship are one of the major problems for contemporary Europe. Now, the unemployment situation in Lithuania is much better than in the post-pandemic period, but young people still lack the motivation to work or stay in one job for a longer period. According to student Gabrielė (name was changed, real name is known to the editors), young people are very different, and their attitudes towards work also differ, so she would not agree with an idea that all young people are afraid of responsibilities and want to achieve everything easily, simply and quickly.

"When a young person graduates, he or she is already tired from the studies, so it’s completely normal to look for a job position that pays well, offers the best possible conditions and easiest job. This is because, once educated, people naturally want to earn more than some unskilled workers. Of course, there will always be people who want to work a little and earn a lot straight after graduating school, but I cannot comment more on people meeting these particular criteria as there are not many of them in my environment," Gabriele explains.

Gabrielė is a third-year student. Like Eglė, she has already changed several jobs in her life. Gabrielė admits that the motivation to look for her first job was a change in life circumstances.

"I always knew I wanted to live apart from my parents after school, and they used to stress that if I wanted to live apart, I would have to support myself financially. I didn’t mind because I wanted to be independent and I wanted to prove that I could do it," says the working student.

According to the young woman, the choice to work and study at the same time has a great impact on her life as a student, and that fatigue sets in when she has to sit down at the computer after work, sometimes even at night, to prepare for the lectures.

"I have to skip lectures and attend only seminars; I often do things at the last minute or at night. I often cannot stay after lectures to chit chat to my classmates, which is something I really miss, so my work definitely has a negative impact on my routine as a student," Gabrielė admits.

According to Gabrielė, it is obvious, that any job affects a person to some extent, but she believes that jobs students choose to do usually have a very negative impact on a young person’s psychological state.

"Young people often realise the temporality of this job; they do not enjoy it and are not satisfied with the financial aspect. The only perk is that in most cases it does not require any experience. Of course, I think, everyone tries to find some silver lining. And if you want to get a dream job you need to have at least a minimum working experience, education is not enough," explains Gabrielė.

Which jobs do young people choose?

According to Rita Karavaitienė, marketing manager at CV-Online, young people usually choose simpler, unskilled jobs and such tendency does not come as a surprise.

"These are usually their first jobs, they don’t have a lot of work experience yet, so start with jobs where they can apply their personal qualities and energy. They choose options to earn some money but not stay for long. These are entry-level positions, which are usually the first step of a certain career ladder," she explains.

Karavaitienė names a several typical areas in which young people work.

"These include retail, customer service, catering, agriculture, manufacturing, warehouses and other unskilled jobs. However, there are also exceptions, for example, when talented young people discover their field of interest, continuously develop their skills, and while still at school, hold positions where special skills are needed, such as those related to IT, communications or other fields," says Karavaitienė.

Other options for professional development are becoming more and more popular, such as volunteering instead of paid work in order to reveal one’s own strengths and gain experience, or contributing to a family business.

"This is often very useful when choosing particular studies and future career path. One more common form of work is assisting parents in their activities, work and family business, starting from basic agricultural labour, internships at the parents’ workplace to serious engagement in family business," says the CV-Online marketing manager.

Students choose jobs responsibly

According to Karavaitienė, while still at school, young people are keener to choose seasonal jobs, while students attempt combining work and studies.

"Young people from high school have only a limited choice of possible jobs due to various restrictions, such as what kind of work they can do, working conditions, working hours, rest periods and so on. They tend to opt for simpler and short-term solutions. If a teenager wants to continue working during school year, he has to get both the parental consent and permission from the school to work," explains Karavaitienė.

According to the expert, the above-mentioned restrictions for minors are the main reason why more students and not pupils work during the academic year, but even among them there are various exceptions, as some study programmes require so much time and dedication that working is simply out of question. However, according to Karavaitienė, students who are active, efficient and time managing easily find a job to combine with their studies.

"Most students choose jobs having nothing in common with their studies, but with flexible hours and employers guaranteeing possibility to combine work with studies. Customer service, sales, catering sectors are always hiring. Some students, having assessed their options, choose only casual or short-term jobs, but more often they choose work options to work, for example, only in the evenings or at weekends," elaborates the expert.

Jobs that young people dream of

According to Karavaitienė, young people nowadays value freedom, thus companies offering remote work opportunities, flexible working hours and flexibility in executing tasks are the most desirable ones.

"Young people seek development, personal growth and learning opportunities. They also value appreciation, a good microclimate and a friendly team. Equally important is the meaning and the added value of the work itself. They want to perform well at what they are doing and understand what exactly their work brings to themselves, to the employer, to the society and to the world," Karavaitienė explains.

According to the expert, remote work opportunities usually are available for administrative jobs in IT, finance, marketing, communications, public relations or other sectors. However, according to CV-Online marketing manager, in most cases an option to work remotely is offered to employees who already have experience and do not need to be fully trained or mentored, but anything is possible for a young person too.

"If a young person already has some labour market experience, remote work for him or her is just as accessible as to other age groups. Many young people also choose freelancing, they create their own workplace and determine when and how much they work," says she.

Employers’ attitudes towards young workers

Although in our society young people and their attitudes to life receive various opinions, according to Karavaitienė, when an employer offers a job to a young person, all it expects is tasks performed on time and properly.

"After all, to put it simply, putting aside prejudices and various stereotypes about the young generation, employers hire the skills, knowledge and competences that are needed to perform specific tasks," Karavaitienė says.

According to Karavaitienė, different views or attitudes do not mean anything.

"If employers expect young people to have the same attitudes as Baby Boomers or Generation X, of course, they will be disappointed. Attitudes and views may differ, but that does not mean that the job will not be done perfectly. Diversity, different approaches and different experiences may become greatest strength of the company if advantages of different generations are combined and enabled correctly," Karavaitienė says.

Any job can be rewarding

It is obvious that contemporary young people tend to change jobs quite often. Some of them are not satisfied with the working conditions, while others are looking for more meaning or want to work in the field of their studies. According to psychologist Gintarė Buinickaitė, such young people should understand that any job in one way or another can be rewarding.

"We may acquire some skills that are not directly related to our chosen profession, but these skills may seem very useful in our lives or even later in our careers. Diversity of experiences builds character, makes people more resilient, stronger and more courageous. Even more interesting as a personality. So, one should not be afraid to expose himself or herself to many different experiences, because life has just begun, there will be plenty of time to get to where he or she is supposed to be," she says.

However, the current generation is very eager to find the meaning in life – for them it is of crucial importance what and why they are doing.

"When we find that meaning, the path towards it becomes easier, more understandable. And often young people say they want to work something meaningful. And for me, the meaning of the certain job depends solely on the attitude. Let’s say a student who works as a waiter finds meaning in money he or she earns, in socialising, and also if there are no waiters, who will serve us? The same is with all other jobs. More and more employers, but still not all of them yet, are trying to talk more about this greater meaning for the world, for human beings," psychologist Buinickaitė explains.

However, as the psychologist notes, meaning alone is not enough for young people to feel motivated.

"The younger generation wants to be noticed, recognised and appreciated for their effort and achievements. Once again, we should meet someway halfway – employing organisations need to give more positive and constructive feedback to their employees, ensure better communication, and young employees need to realise that not everything is worth praising or appreciation, some tasks are just part of your job," she explained.

Although communication is very important for young people, employers should not be surprised if it takes some time to get a young employee to speak up, she said.

"Live communication is not their cup of tea. They first need to feel more secure in the particular environment or with a particular person. Once they feel that they can finally reveal their true self, that they will be accepted and listened to no matter what, and that in the time of need will get an advice or help, they would definitely open up and become an integral part of the community," Buinickaitė explains.

Becoming an adult is not easy

According to psychologist Buinickaitė, being an adult can be very challenging at certain points in life, even for an older person, so it is not surprising that young people on their way to an independent life face some obstacles.

"The first thing to consider is our perception of an adulthood. Adulthood is a time of life when one is fully mature physically, intellectually and emotionally. Intellectual and emotional maturity can be a process for life; thus, adulthood is most often defined as the age of 20 and 21. Why this age? Because in the past they believed, this was the time when the human brain has finished its development," she explains.

But today, according to Buinickaitė, the human brain takes longer to develop.

"The brain is fully formed by the age of 26-28. So, although we maybe adults in terms of age, as it is evident in other aspects, we are still developing, so some challenges on the way to adulthood is pretty common. The new responsibilities are challenging, because until now we have not had to think about living, paying utilities, cooking for ourselves, planning finances. For some, even doing the laundry can be a newfound responsibility," says Buinickaitė.

Responsibility towards other people or the fear of the unknown are also often intimidating. And sometimes it is even paralysing.

"As long as you are a child, your parents are responsible for everything: you know when to get up, when to go to school, when to eat. You feel safe that your parents will take you where you need to be, cook for you, take care of you. Playing is also plain and simple. And now that you’re an adult, you have to figure it all out by yourself: what about these new places - university, college, apartment? What about these people? What about this job, will I succeed? What about the manager? What about colleagues? We do not know anything," the psychologist explains.

Social media also influences a young person

"Young person follows other people of similar age, and wonders why they are succeeding, and he or

she is not. Then becomes filled with sadness, starts feeling insecure. My advice is to be kind to oneself, be patient, stay away from social media and, so to say, run your own race. I want to remind all young people - we all are different, and our lives and paths to adulthood will be different. Therefore, there is really no need to push yourself or move heaven and earth. The most important thing is to have help and not necessarily financial. I’m talking about emotional support from the loved ones, being curious and having a growth mindset. That is seeing everything that is happening now is an opportunity, even if it’s just a bad experience or a lesson to not do something in the future. And if I fail, I will learn the lesson and move forward," Buinickaitė advises.

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