Exponential Employee Expectations

The term “Exponential change” has recently become a seriously overused term – one that I myself am guilty of frequently using in my talks.

But this morning I heard a news report on the radio quoting a recent Santander survey (which I’m yet to track down – please ping me a link in the comments if you find it) that says:-

The average 16-year-old expects to make £89,000 a year at the peak of their career with one in five expecting to hit £100,000

With the current average UK salary quoted in the same report as £26,500 ……… I’d say that the “average 16 year old” might have slightly unrealistic expectations of the future!

But it did get me thinking about the current technology trends that I regularly talk about and how they apply to future employee expectations. I’ve already admitted to being guilty of spreading the gospel of exponential change. I’m not in a position to debate the scientific (or mathematic) validity of the claims but I do provide anecdotal and observational evidence of the continually and apparently increasing rate of technology change and the impact that it’s having on the world around us – and very specifically on the impact it has on our expectations as consumers and by extension, our expectations as employees. As existing or future potential employees, we expect hiring organisations to be coping with and indeed embracing the changes we see around us in everyday life – but the reality is that many struggle to meet our most basic expectations (not counting the 16 year old’s salary expectations as one of the basic ones mind you!!).

I’m often approached by parents, relatives and friends of young people considering their final year subject choices at school or university for advice on what is going to best set them up for future employment and I have often presented to groups of GCSE or A-level students on the topic of “The Future of Technology and Virtually Everything” to open their minds to future opportunities. The impact of technology change on the future of work is widely covered, often focussing on how employers need to adapt to the expectations of millennials, including virtual and adaptive workplaces and styles; technology choices and preferences; automation and the rise of “robotic workers” (not related to some of the call centre staff I’ve recently been exposed to ….); collaborative crowds; open innovation and too many more to cover in this post.

But I take exception to the segmentation of “millennial” by age – especially when according to a recent survey I took, I’m 97% millennial!

I firmly believe

“Millennial” is a mindset, not an age!

There have always been people with a millennial mindset – there are just an increasing number of them at this moment in time – and they have been born into a world with exponential expectations of the future.

What are you doing to meet those expectations?