Digital Natives Coming of Age: Challenges for Managers

Andreea MITAN


Youth unemployment is currently a stringent problem in many European countries. Most of the time, both the public opinion and the national and European institutions blame the economic crisis, the social conditioning of these youngsters, and point to the failure of the educational systems to provide them with the necessary qualifications needed on the market. There are a few initiatives, such as the Youth Guarantee launched in 2013, led by European public authorities in order to reduce this phenomenon, but these initiatives address solely the professional proficiency of the youngsters. And most authorities perceive them as citizens who need to be trained to fit with the existing working environments.

The situation is, in fact, more complex, as todays youngsters are different from the previous generations in terms of the values they share and the basic way they process information. When speaking of the youth, the high unemployment rate due to system imbalance between people training and work fields’ requirements are just one side of the coin. The other side speaks about the impact digital technology has upon young people, favouring the emergence of the so called digital natives, and about the fact that the working environment in itself has to incorporate changes in order to accommodate these youngsters and fully benefit from their capabilities.    

As Romanian digital natives come of age, minimizing the mind gap between elder managers and younger employees and candidates becomes an important issue that companies increasingly have to deal with. This article explores the digital natives’ expectations from their managers and from the companies they aim to work for, based upon a survey conducted in four universities in Bucharest. We propose a series of recommendations for managers who work closely with digital natives, in order to improve the work environment and create the premises for better job performance in their teams, possibly reducing, this way, the number of NEETs in Romania.

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