[Debate] International Youth and the Corporate World: the Great Distrust ?
EMERGY - Emerging Societal Trends

[Debate] International Youth and the Corporate World: the Great Distrust ?

This report was co-authored with Hannah Fautsch, EU Policy Advocacy, UNIDO Brussels.

In the wake of the EYES report published by the think tank SKEMA Publika, and in particular the subsequent detailed analysis of international youth’s distrust of the world of work, a conference was held on 20 May 2022 in Brussels and online, in partnership with UNIDO Brussels. The invited stakeholders got to expose a useful variety of viewpoints and suggest some ways forward on this major issue.

Context

In his introduction to the conference, Patrick Gilabert, head of the UNIDO office in Brussels, underlined the unique nature of the EYES report and the profound changes taking place in the world of work.

Claude Revel, the director of the think tank, presented the aims of the EYES report. The goal of this major study is to give policymakers an insight into the informal opinions of young people. The report captures the opinions of young people from around the world on five societal issues they themselves prioritised: traditional media and the press, social media, new technologies, security, and the world of work.

Xavier Desmaison, CEO and Co-founder of Antidox, a firm specialised in processing big data, explained the methodology used. He emphasised that potential biases in the opinions expressed on Twitter were taken into account when carrying out the study. Nevertheless, this analysis of spontaneous opinions reveals that there is a real debate of ideas happening among young people on these issues.

Sarah Vallee, Project Officer at SKEMA Publika, presented the findings of the note analysing youth at work. The results show that young people want companies to take a stance on “moral” issues. Young people also want an appropriate digitalisation and better preparation for entering the labour market and the workforce. The recommendations made in the note are aimed at companies and international organisations. In the first instance, companies would benefit from implementing a useful digitalisation and maintaining the social connection between the company and its employees. In this respect, a political stance reflected in company practices is a potential solution. Next, they advise institutions to support the workforce integration of young people by deploying new, suitable programmes. The note suggests that integrating education in soft skills into the secondary school curriculum is another solution for better preparing young people.  

Round Table

Four speakers shared their viewpoints on the conference themes:

  • Mr. Pablo Cornide, Policy Officer – Youth Employment at the European Commission
  • Ms. Beatrice Richez-Baum, Director General at ecoDa (European Confederation of Directors Association)
  • Mr. Thomas Ruspil, student at SKEMA Business School, former president of the association PourParlers
  • Ms. Raquel Torres Prol, Vice President at JEUNE (Young Entrepreneurs Organization of the European Union)

Thomas Ruspil explained that, where the new generations are concerned, companies now have a political and social responsibility in a world with limited resources. However, the expectations of young people differ according to their country of origin and their social background.

Raquel Torres added that companies must establish inclusion as a potential path to greater equality.

Beatrice Richez-Baum indicated that companies are changing rapidly. Legislative requirements and the expectations of civil society are pushing them to rethink the way they work and operate. The exact scale of these changes might not always be accurately perceived and evaluated.

Pablo Cornide underscored that, to support these changes, legislation and European programmes are needed to encourage youth employment. He spoke of inclusion and of the importance of involving different stakeholders in the creation of new company practices.  

A long version of the report is available.

For further information :