Generation Y, better known as Millennials, were spotted some years ago as the potentially most high-performing cohort in history. A generation characterized by more information, greater technological skills and higher expectations than any of the preceding ones. There is no consensus on whether Generation Y is more civic-oriented rather than narcissist but most sociologists agree on the fact that strong pragmatism and tendency to participation, both social and political, are distinctive traits of this cohort.
How can this eagerness to do and change the status quo combine with an utterly high youth unemployment rate? Focusing on relative size rather than levels, which differ greatly among countries, we are experiencing a dramatic youth unemployment rate (15-24 years old), about three times higher than the overall unemployment rate. Youth unemployment is a devastating issue for growth and economies per se, but if we also take into account the high-productivity potential predicted for Millennials, the current state becomes even less efficient. An incredible waste of resources.
The economic context seems paradoxical given the flourishing innovation within the e-recruiting sector. The Millennials should be a step ahead any other candidate given that they are the first generation grown on the internet and social networks.
Applicant Tracking Systems are becoming more and more sophisticated, job search social platforms play a crucial role in both big and medium-size company’s recruiting and new players, above all social networks and crowd sourcing, have been peeking in also among small-size firms. The biggest perks on the company side are a tremendous increase in the size of the pool of candidates and an exponential increment of efficiency in screening CVs. How about the applicant’s perspective? Does e-recruiting increase job-seekers’ chances of being noticed? Well, it depends. It surely does for veterans of the job market by amplifying network effects. What about young talents approaching the job market for the first time?
Talent. Scholars date the start of the rise of ‘Talent Economy’ back to the 1960s. By 2013 about half of the top 50 companies and 3 of the 4 biggest companies worldwide were talent-based. In a creative work environment substantial independent judgment and decision making are the most valuable assets. This is also mirrored in the spread of trust management practices replacing control management.
Scouting talent is not an easy task, though, even in the e-recruiting era. How to stand out from big data? The most intuitive answer for any business-trained individual would be: network. Which takes the issue back to: does the network amplification power of social network recruiting also affect young talents, like the promising Millennials? It does, but to a way lesser extent.
This is where meritocracy comes in. How to implement meritocracy in the e-recruiting era? A possible solution has been proposed by us, Egomnia, an Italian start up now collaborating with the World Economic Forum. I, Matteo Achilli, the founder of the company and a Millennial, combined in a recruiting platform the social network features with a meritocratic ranking, based on an algorithm.
Meritocracy could be the trigger to turn the Millennials’ expected high-productivity into a self-fulfilling prophecy. The correlation between meritocracy and social mobility is backed by many scholars and both values are often endorsed with enthusiasm by both civil and political actors. Implementing meritocracy in e-recruiting alone is unlikely to be sufficient, but, if the Millennials’ are as pragmatic and incline to participation as expected, enabling the best of them to be employed could really be an important first tile of a domino chain reaction. Killing two birds (youth unemployment and social mobility) with one stone (meritocracy) is, after all, a very idiomatic expression of an, as basic as fundamental, economic principle: efficiency.