“Too many of the young adults who seek employment with me want to show up, go through the motions and get paid,” an experienced business owner shared with me. He was very frustrated that although he had work available the majority of his prospective applicants had no intention of actually doing any work. He had run into this time and time again.
That conversation led to this article. For the past month or so I have polling business owners, supervisors and former business owners asking for their comments to one simple question, “What skill do you find most lacking in the potential employees you meet?” I had nearly 100 responses from a variety of sources. The results are very troubling.
The top issues noted are lack of critical thinking skills, lack knowledge of the trade, lack of passion for their trade and lack of work ethic. Out of these four only one is technical knowledge; the rest are soft skills that are transferable to any other job and high useful in their day to day life. The rest of the list encompassed thirteen other undesirable qualities and all of them are soft skills.
Critical thinking skills are those qualities that tell you to hand a knife cautiously, or tell you not to grind stone near the clients car, or how about the kid who didn’t know the difference between wetting the floor and actually mopping it. Unfortunately too many workers especially those with substandard education do not engage their work. They merely complete tasks without thinking of the end goal.
Knowledge in the trade means just that. If you say you are cook you should know about cooking. The same goes for any other trade. One supervisor shared this with me, “candidates aren’t willing to put in the time to learn their trade, but they demand the high pay.”
Those who listed a lack of passion for their trade explained that too many people are looking for a job without really knowing what they are looking for or why. Too many aren’t willing to learn their trade because their heart isn’t in it. Imagine if your doctor had this attitude. Work conversations should be more about work related matters and not gossip.
The biggest flaw, by far, is lack of work ethic. Unfortunately I have witnessed this all to often, not just in the workplace. Many of the young people I have mentored have failed to work hard in school, on an athletic team and once they hit the workforce the problem continues. Except that now they have entered the adult world and second chances are few.
Many of the young people I have mentored have had all the answers for their behavior. The most frequent excuse is “they ain’t paying me enough.” I have taken my time to patiently explain that in the world of grown ups we have to earn our keep by producing enough revenue to merit a raise. No one gives a raise simply because you need it. However, most of my explanations have fallen on deaf ears or another excuse has surfaced.
“Too many young people are not future focused. They do not understand that the pace of change will never be slower than it was today.” A business owner shared this statement with me. He is correct. There are too many young adults who do not understand how life works. So who is to blame? Is it the parenting they received or the lack of parenting? The biggest influence in the life of all human beings is their parents. Let’s start there. Many of the young men I have mentored do not have the understanding of the world, ways of the world and what is required to live their dreams. They merely exist. They enter the workforce with little understanding of what it is to build a career and plan for the future. They are like pinballs in the workforce. It is easy o say that they need to get a clue, but it is difficult to change the culture they were raised with and morph it into something they don’t understand and therefore doubt. The answers lie in one-on-one guidance of a trusted friend.