Although some tech pros fear the impact of automation and artificial intelligence (A.I.) on their jobs, many Millennials hold no such worries: a new study by the World Economic Forum (PDF) suggests that 78.6 percent of those who fall in that age group think that technology will create jobs in coming years.
With regard to data, the World Economic Forum relied on 24,766 completed surveys from a target population aged 18 to 35. Some 28 percent of those surveyed thought that artificial intelligence is the next big technology trend, followed by biotechnology (11.5 percent), robotics (9.3 percent), Internet of Things (9.3 percent), and driverless cars (7.1 percent).
“The results emphasize a highly idiosyncratic feature of the Millennial era,” read the study. “Young people are not only living in an age in which several aspects and applications of technology are becoming increasingly mainstream and integrated in all parts of life, namely jobs, but these tech-savvy individuals are also simultaneously determining their own future job prospects.”
But for Millennials, the biggest workplace challenge might not center on technology; rather, it’s education. In a recent McKinsey study, some 40 percent of employers confessed that a lack of skilled applicants prevented them from filling entry-level job vacancies: “There were gaps in technical skills such as STEM subject degrees but also in soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and punctuality.” A similar survey by PayScale also broke down a lack of soft skills on Millennials’ part.
But not all pundits are willing to pin some kind of generation-specific deficiency on Millennials, at least when it comes to things like communication and teamwork. “I think we’ve begun stereotyping the Millennial generation without having any real empirical research that tells us there’s something unique about this particular generation,” Danny Nelms, president of The Work Institute, told Dice earlier this year. “I think all young workers have had challenges related to soft skills. I don’t think Millennials are any different than any predecessor generation.”
Whether or not Millennials as a group merge seamlessly with the workforce, the fact remains that they’re evidently comfortable with cutting-edge tech such as A.I. and IoT. And that can only mean good things for their job prospects going forward; if you’re used to something, you can more easily adopt it.