How young Europeans will impact business in a big way, despite being poorly educated

The Boardroom

by Duncan MacRae| 24 April 2014

Businesses, educators and regulators must help Europe’s generation Y create future digital enterprises.

The majority of young Europeans feel that the education system is not adequately preparing for the digital economy but they are confident they will go on to acquire digital skills post-education, new research has found.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), an IT services, consulting and business solutions organisation, has conducted a survey of European youth conducted in partnership with ThinkYoung, the European think tank focused on young people.

The study of young Europeans between the ages of 18 and 30 covered all 28 EU countries and focused on their attitudes and preferences towards a more digital workplace of the future.

The survey comes at a time when economic sentiment is on the rise with EU GDP forecast to grow by 1.5% in 2014. Digitisation and the internet are seen as powerful motors in creating much-needed new jobs that need to come along with economic growth. Estimates predict that completing the EU's Digital Agenda could create up to four million new jobs.

As a new generation of European youth seeks to enter and re-define the workplace, the survey found a highly positive prevailing sentiment towards mobility, skills and technology.

European youth are very open to mobility - 86% would find it desirable to move between countries and 87% want to move between industries.

While 63% felt that the educational system was not preparing them adequately for the digital economy, an overwhelming 70% felt that they would succeed in it by acquiring skills post education.

73% of young Europeans believe that technology will enable transparency within the future economy

Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission and Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, said "The world is becoming digitised at a breath-taking rate, impacting every aspect of our lives from the political to the personal, to the ways we live and work.

"The digital revolution will affect and benefit every European - but it is the younger people who will most shape it, and be shaped by it. This is why this timely and insightful research from TCS and ThinkYoung is welcome. In order to better meet the needs of coming generations it is incumbent on us as employers, educators and regulators to understand their expectations of what is here termed the "digital enterprise".

N Chandrasekaran, CEO and MD, TCS, said, "As a young company, with a majority of our 300,000 employees belonging to GenY, we are pleased to enable the voices, hopes and preferences of European youth through this survey. Over 90 million Europeans who comprise Generation Y will enable the next generation of digital enterprises, but we must first enable them to do so with the right digital skills. Investment in crucial disciplines such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is vital for Europe's future competitiveness."

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