The highly discussed topic surrounding a certain blonde influencer has prompted me to ask: could we be doing more to get employed?
Enter Molly-Mae Hague, a white middle-class woman who forged a name for herself on a reality show, then cleverly tapped into a booming market of fake tan and hair extensions. Needless to say, she has made a fortune. Someone else with different resources or a different start in life may not have been so fortunate.
Hague recently appeared on The Diary of a CEO podcast and a clip later circulated which detailed her views on success, in which she stated: “I understand that we all have different backgrounds and we’re all raised in different ways and we do have different financial situations, but I do think if you want something enough, you can achieve it.”
Judging by the backlash she has received, it’s clear that most people understand that we don’t all have the same means to achieve the same as everyone else, regardless of ‘want’. This topic has been discussed, dissected, and well and truly rinsed. But it got me thinking about our generation when it comes to the world of work.
Often, the lack of information and opportunities is the reason for many people getting into jobs they either hate or aren’t passionate about, and why so many people aren’t able to fulfil their potential.
Many of us are entering the job market with no knowledge of what we really require to be employed. And that’s completely understandable given that we are guided blindly through a linear education system, that is catered to a narrow section of society and individuals.
Those who are told academia “isn’t for them” get into apprenticeships or jobs in other fields. And for those who make it to the ‘end’ of the academic trail, we are subsequently spat out into the world and expected to have it all figured out. According to the Early Careers Survey 2021, conducted by Prospects, when asked how prepared they were for getting a job or apprenticeship, 45% of university students said they felt unprepared.
Something is going wrong.
Whether you’ve done a degree, another qualification, or different jobs along the way, repeatedly, people are pushed into things they don’t want to do. This can be because they don’t have the resources or necessary skills to follow an alternative path.
You often hear people saying that it’s likely our generation will end up doing jobs that we never knew existed or haven’t even been created yet. But how can we hope to get these jobs if we’re neither qualified nor prepared for them?
A common reason for people not applying for jobs is their fear of being underqualified, and often, we probably are. That said, what our generation does have, over everyone else, is a natural familiarity with technology. And we can use it to our advantage. Some of the most sought-after skills right now in the job market are associated with technology.
As an example, GOV.UK has a long list of free courses in areas such as digital skills for social media, cybersecurity, and coding, which also happen to be a few of the most in-demand skills right now. As well as passion, job security is also important, especially in today’s climate. Improving your tech skills is a safe bet since tech is a space that shows no sign of slowing down.
When something’s free, you instantly question its value. So, in a bid to test out some of the courses on offer, I decided to give coding a try.
Put simply, coding is the act of instructing a computer to perform a specific task. It’s used for creating and programming apps, websites, and other technologies most people use every day.
Currently, around 0.3% of the world’s population knows how to code. This makes it a highly valued skill and one that pays very well. For younger generations, it wouldn’t require years of study to be able to use it. And better yet, you can teach yourself. People who have learned to code say it’s improved their problem-solving ability and career prospects. Plus, there are countless opportunities that currently require this skill.
The particular course I went with is offered by Microsoft and LinkedIn. Disclaimer: I have no natural ability for maths, physics, or anything logical. In other words, this seemed like something I could never do. However, after starting the course, very quickly, something that felt so alien to me started to make sense. This is just an example of a skill you can learn for free, that could make you stand out from other job applicants.
Now, I’m not saying everyone needs this. Or has the time or resources to access it. But most 18-24-year olds do have access to the internet in some way, whether that be at home or at a local library.
For those who are stuck with what path to take right now, a digital course could be a good place to start. At best, you get hired by Apple and they put you in charge of programming the next iPhone. At the very least, you add a new skill to your CV, and more importantly of course, you can go to sleep knowing Molly-Mae is proud of you.
Gov.uk free online courses
Early Career Survey 2021