Importance of being pro-active in new age careers

 

The increasing interest of Gen Z in new age careers has created a whole new array of skills and jobs for youngsters today! However, are  skills and aptitude enough to survive the ups and downs in the job market today? The structure of new age companies is such that the emphasis is predominantly on getting the work done. In an era of such competition among students, staying motivated and driving one’s own growth at a firm is pivotal. If you’re thinking of taking up a job after college, be ready to take ownership of the work assigned to you! If you want to stand out, make sure you are putting in the extra effort and going the extra mile to get the work done.

Follow the tips below to keep yourself motivated and ensure you are working smartly towards a better future at the firm:

  1. Define clear goals and targets: Clarity of vision keeps an individual self-motivated. One needs to plan out his/ her short term, as well as long term goals. Having a clarity on your goals will help you move forward and achieve your goals in the most efficient manner, despite encountering hurdles on the way! As long as you know what you want to achieve and have a structured timeline for the same, motivation should come to you automatically.
  2. Be pro-active: Never hesitate to take initiative when a new project is being assigned to the team! Even if it’s something you aren’t comfortable with, volunteer for it and learn on the go! Make sure you are showcasing eagerness to work rather than slacking away from responsibilities. Ups and downs are normal in a corporate setup, just make sure you have the right attitude because ultimately your work is your goodwill!
  3. Take ownership: No matter which company you join, as an entry-level hire, if you want to stand out among the other freshers, learn how to take ownership of your work. If a project has been assigned to you and you require assistance from a team of people, make sure you are driving the project constantly. Check-in with the concerned people regularly and make sure they are working toward the deadlines suggested by you. At the end of the day, make sure the work gets done comfortably without too many last minute urgencies.
  4. Request Feedback: An important aspect to ensure you are on track and working toward the company’s broader goals is to regularly ask for feedback. Make sure you block some time on your manager’s calendar on a weekly basis and ask for his/ her views on the quality of your work. What have you been doing well, how could it be better, is your turnaround time good or can it be improved etc. Apart from helping you improve, this also shows that you are willing to put in the extra effort and value feedback from your manager!  

Any enterprise is built on the self-motivation of both the entrepreneur as well as the people working in the organization. In a study conducted recently, it was showcased that only 30% of all employees feel motivated in their careers!

Stepping into a new job with the right mindset, a good dose of self-motivation and support will help you face the various ups and downs you might encounter on the way. Self-motivation is key for any business to run and evolve – make sure you’re not neglecting it!

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2omzIss

 

Have a stress-free exam period

 

The job market these days is extremely competitive. With students from 35,000 colleges in the country competing for jobs, the sheer expectations are massive! With exams just around the corner, this period is a pivotal one, especially for students who will be transitioning out of college at the end of this academic year. Typically, a student’s timeline includes class schedules, exam preparation, research work, preparation for entrance exams and interviews for further studies/ job placements. In the midst of all this, they also needs some time off.

Since the academic year is coming to a close, follow these simple ways to stay motivated, have a positive mindset during your exam period and successfully accomplish your goals:

 

  • Focus on your priorities: If you’re a student, especially a final year student, you should be well aware of what all you want to accomplish in the short-term as well as long-term. Realize what your personal driving factors are – impact, money, passion, a corporate setup etc. You can refer to Stephen Covey’s time management matrix method and classify tasks based on urgency and importance. Identify which task come under which quadrant and work on them accordingly. If you want to work for a few years after college before pursuing your Masters, start researching about which field you see yourself working in. Only then can you narrow down on which companies are hiring for that specific role. Don’t compromise on your extracurricular activities because they define who you are more than your marks do! Just be sure to prioritise the correct task at the right time – be it society work at college or studying for an exam.
  • Manage your day: Since you’ll be working on a lot of tasks and timelines on a daily basis, make sure you’re making a list of tasks daily/ weekly. Give enough time to each activity, including your health and self development. Implement this time-table with breaks between every session so that you do not burn yourself out. While scheduling tasks for your day, make sure you are not overburdening yourself with studies or work as mental and physical health are utmost important to tackle stress.
  • Seek mentorship: At this crucial period of time, it is pivotal for you to have a support system. Seek guidance or mentorship from a well-trusted guardian or senior at college. Such mentors tend to help you with your issues and hence solve your confusion. They can provide you with the best insight through their own personal experiences, aiding you during the decision making process. Before an entrance exam or college assignment, you can ask a senior at college for sample or mock papers to get a better understanding about where you stand. If you’re confused between taking up a job or going for higher studies, you can reach out to a professional mentor and ask for his/ her insights.
  • Maintain healthy habits: Keep yourself fit and healthy through nourishing food habits, a good-night sleep and exercise/ yoga to strike a balance in your life. To make sure your efficiency at work is not compromised, you need to be mentally, emotionally and physically fit. In this digital age of instant messaging and constant emails, it’s extremely important to know when to take a step back and keep your gadget aside. Digital detox is nowadays regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world!

 

According to a survey conducted at the University of California Berkeley about 45% students experience emotional or stress! Stay calm, stay happy and trust your capabilities and strengths. Do not forget to reward yourself with a break after ticking off your to-do list at the end of the day!

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2nQsAVR

Making dealing with different people at workplace easy!

 

Students and young professionals will meet a variety of people on a daily basis. Unlike school, where you can choose your friends and groups, once you start interning and working you are assigned teams and bosses! People come from different backgrounds and have a different outlook toward life in general. Working at a firm or with a society in college requires knowing how to comfortably interact with diverse people. Learning how to work with them is critical to success. Interacting with a variety of people at work can be challenging. Here are some suggestions on how to make it work for you.

  1. Know yourself: There are several personality tests that measure your tendencies, preferences and patterns of behaviour such as DiSC Personality test, The Big Five Personality Test, HEXACO-Pi-R Personality Test and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). According to MBTI, there are 16 types of personalities. These personality preferences are indicated based on four dimensions. What we focus on- Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I); the way we absorb information- Sensing (S) or Intuition (N); how we make decisions- Thinking (T) or Feeling (F); and how we deal with the world- Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). It’s only once you understand yourself and your peers that you can learn the best way to work with them.
  2. Adjust and Adapt to others: Different people have different ways of interacting and communicating their thoughts and feelings to one another. Some people are diplomatic while some prefer being more direct. The way in which these 2 kinds of people give or receive feedback might differ, but the important thing is to identify the personality type of the person and make sure to take the feedback being provided in a constructive manner. Understand the working style of the people you’re working with and adapt accordingly. There might be certain things that your colleagues do not approve of, one can try to improve on that. This would help in maintaining healthy and professional relationships. However, adapting to one’s style doesn’t mean neglecting yours completely. If there is a misunderstanding or disagreement on a certain issue, discuss it maturely and come to a common ground that is mutually beneficial in the long run.
  3. Respect: A crucial part of working in a team is that every person needs to respect each others’ strengths, opinions and most importantly weaknesses. This will help the person overcome his/ her weakness gradually with a positive attitude. This also makes it easier for the individual to trust his team members for other work-related matters. There are a few qualities that all of us should build upon before we start interning at a firm. These include – patience, tolerance, basic human understanding, mutual respect for each other, a caring nature, honesty and selflessness. These traits would help maintain a friendly and healthy environment at the workplace and build lasting relations with people. Don’t make work related issues personal, solve them in a professional manner!

According to a survey by The American Institute of Stress, stress due to people issues at the workplace accounts to 28 percent, only behind stress due to workload which stands at 46%. Other factors for stress include lack of job security (6%) and juggling work/ personal lives (20%). Instead of increasing stress, recognize how different personalities at a workplace function and learn how to work with various types of people. Diversity at a workplace is also an important thing since it allows for different thoughts and ideas and creates space for diverse discussions!

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2noFAS8

Partnering with your parents on your career choice

 

In prior generations, career choices were driven by compulsion and direction from parents.

Today, 34% of India’s youth is driven by passion and interests, as opposed to money and family advice. So how does one find a balance between pursuing the career of your dreams and having your parents support and guidance? The old school way is reaching out to your parents for advice and following their guidance.  In today’s day and age, students have a strong opinion and are more entitled. This is the result of of technology, social media, students’ growing interests in activities apart from academia and a plethora of new age careers!

Given India’s cultural context, involving your parents is respectful and important. Although the job market has changed. Yet, our parents do have a lot of wisdom. Moreover, they know you well. If you can involve them in the right manner, you will be able to maintain a happy support system at home alongside your ambition and career path. This positive environment and support at home is necessary for you to live a meaningful, happy and full life!

 

  • Have a discussion: Parents always have their child’s best interest at heart. There should be a mutual understanding regarding the child’s skills, aptitude and interests. Parents need to support their kids by becoming their mentors and helping them discover their passion. However, if a student has decided on a career that the parents do not approve of, a cordial discussion needs to take place. There needs to be an accepting perspective on both sides. Both you and your parents should try to put across the pros and cons of your respective choices and deal with career selection with utmost love and care. As a son/ daughter, you should try to understand your parents’ standpoint and always know that they only have your best interest in their mind at all times.
  • Test and upskill yourself: Aptitude and interests are a mirror to a student’s personality, strengths and weaknesses. Psychometric and aptitude tests make it easier for students to understand their potential. Both students and their parents should also consider the availability and scope of the course leading towards the desired career. Understanding these basic parameters would help the students and their parents come to a common ground on career choices.
  • Speak to guides and industry veterans: Quite often, parents are attracted towards a trending career choice for their kids and students get swayed due to peer pressure. Not realizing whether their son/ daughter can cope with the career they have in mind might hamper their child’s overall performance at the firm! Students must be well-informed about the opportunities they have access to. A pros and cons analysis is a good way to make an informed decision if you have several options to choose from! Identify what you value first, and then work accordingly. Outside or professional help of a career counsellor can also be sought to choose the correct path.

Parents are our pillars of strength and it is important to realize that they always want the best for you. They nurture and make us the people we are! Their constant support is necessary in every choice we have to make, especially high-pressure career choices. Don’t forget – when it’s their time to take a step back and retire, it is you that they hope to come back to for support. So give them a say and a voice and ensure you have a mutually respectful relationship as you iron out your future path!

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2ncY7kl

Kicking off Project स्वdisha!

Project स्वdisha officially kick-started on 2nd March 2017 at SNDT University and aims to impact 15,000 female students by making them employable. It will be rolled out at Maharashtra’s SNDT University through work-readiness assessments, experiential training, mentorship, counselling and industry-connect. The implementation partners of the project are Wheebox, CII and Talerang.

The opening speech at the launch was given by Dr. Shashikala Wanjari – Vice Chancellor, SNDT Women’s University and Ms. Aafreen Siddiqui Sherwani – Maharashtra State Focal Point, UNDP. The opening event addressed a fundamental question that most students have these days – what is the right path for me? The kick-off was a huge success with a packed auditorium of close to 500 students and faculty members.

On entering the auditorium, all the girls were given copies of –

  1. A well prepared resume
  2. Colorful papers to make notes
  3. Postcards highlighting the process of taking an online test

Our Founder and CEO, Shveta Raina, commenced the event by asking the girls a few interactive questions. She then talked about what Talerang does and how it bridges the work-readiness gap in our country. This was followed by presenting statistics which talked about how much more responsible and self-aware women are, as compared to men. To demonstrate the importance of being self-aware, the girls were asked to make notes of their area of interest and skill tracks and introspect whether they were actually happy with what they are currently pursuing! Through this activity, a few girls were from an underprivileged background narrated their journey of stepping out of the comfort zone, overcoming difficulties and managing to run a business by seeking loans from public sector banks!

Shveta then talked about the importance of having an impactful one-page resume and how it is the first step toward getting your dream job! As the session came to an end, the girls were asked to write down their most prominent fear on a sheet of paper and then tear it off! The idea behind this activity is to shed your fears completely and reinforce the belief that anything you want to achieve is achievable!  This helps you become more self-aware and confident about your goals.

During the closing, the girls were told about the benefits of enrolling for the mentorship program under स्वdisha – Skill Sakshi – We received 67 on-the-spot entries for the same! All the girls were then asked to come on to the stage and click a स्वdisha group photo with the entire Talerang team and Afreen! This was the best moment of the day!
We are excited to announce a collaboration with the United Nations Development Program! Project स्वdisha aims to impact 15,000 female students at Maharashtra’s SNDT University through work-readiness assessments, experiential training, mentorship and counselling and industry-connect. We are glad to be associated with a path-breaking project such as Project स्वdisha and hope to set a precedent for future programs in this space and create history together!

 

How can the youth create impact for our nation?

India has a fairly young population, with almost 65% of the population below 35 years. The youth can create impact at a national scale in several ways. If a corporate career is not your core interest and you want to make a career out of making a difference, there are several avenues open to you! It’s easy to complain about the nation, but not the way to solve the issues we face! Instead, get involved, whether it is part-time or full-time and create a real impact. Here are some ways you can work towards creating an impact outside your standard corporate career:

  1. Government: Representatives of young democracies are much required in the parliament, which interestingly comprises of only 13% of young politicians! There are several ways you can be directly involved with the government to create an impact. You can directly drive a political party by joining a party of your choice – reach out to the local office, ask for a primary membership form and apply with all your personal details as required. You could also join the bureaucracy – IAS, IRS, IFS. Take the Civil Services exams (UPSC, SPSC), realize the skill of your choice and sit for interviews! Other opportunities that you could consider include political analysts, think tanks, election campaign managers and political marketers. Public-private partnerships are also a way to partner on projects with the government. This allows you to be part of the system and have a direct impact!
  2. Non-profit organisations: Non-profit organization is a broad term for organizations that are usually set-up to serve a social cause. Donors can include CSR departments of companies, high net worth individuals, foundations amongst others. For example, the United Nations, Teach For India, the Gates Foundation are all working to solve key issues such as education, human rights and more. They often work in partnership with the government to have a greater impact. Project Disha in India, which is being driven by the United Nations Development Program, is working on creating employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for low-income women in India. These projects allow for individuals to access services and goods that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford! If you want to give back to the underprivileged, this is a great way to do it.
  3. Social enterprise: Social enterprises are designed to both do good and have a business model. Unlike NGOs, they usually break-even and do not raise money through donations. They may also choose to have a hybrid businesses model where a percentage of their work is for profit and the rest for charity. If you’re looking for a combination of impactful work and a structured work environment, a social enterprise might be perfect for you! There would be similar verticals to a corporate that you could work with within a social enterprise – Strategy, Marketing, Finance, Field Operations, Sales, Business Operations for example. Examples of some sectors where social enterprises are thriving are alternative energy, skilling, eco-tourism, wellness and health. These are sectors where the customer is willing to pay a fee, and yet the company is having some social impact. These organizations usually have a double bottom line, where they are measuring social and financial impact.

As a student, you can start off by being actively involved with one of these avenues through internships in your summer breaks! If you translate that experience to a full-time job, and you will transition into an impactful career!

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2l1PKLa

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The importance of wellness while we work

 

The stereotype for success in India is to work, work, work until you succeed. Yet, when it gets too much and work stress catches up with you, you’re often less productive and successful than you could otherwise be. Stress can affect health, and without good health, being effective becomes impossible. So how can one be ambitious, hard-working, connected, and still maintain  productivity and wellness?

Here are some suggestions for the youth!

1. Being plugged in doesn’t mean being productive: We strive for connectivity and improved technology. We rejoice with faster internet connections, improved phone networks and fancier smart phones. However in this race to always be online, we shouldn’t ignore the risks of our phone addiction. The truth is that in this day of constant inundation of email and digital media, it seems like the youth can never fully switch off.

Every day, Americans check their cell phones an average of 46 times. One would think that this would make them happy. Yet, research shows that too much device usage, especially on social media leads to symptoms of anxiety, depression and increased stress levels. Additionally, every time we check an email, it takes us 25-30 minutes to fully get back in the flow of whatever work we were doing. Instead of increasing our productivity, constantly being on email might just be decreasing it.

Once you create some time away from devices, it will give way to creativity. Unplugging will allow you to think freely, and get fully in the flow of your work. This is a required state for productivity, and also for happiness. Start with 30 minutes a day, and build it up to 24 hours a week!

2. Take time off: Take meaningful breaks away from your work. Take time to go on vacation, and even during your work day switch off during lunch. Call a close friend and catch up or read a book. On vacation, try completing switching off your devices. Real human connections and interactions are shown to increase happiness much more than time spent on social media! When you step out and do things you enjoy, it refreshes your mind. It exposes you to new people, ideas, and places. This in turn allows you to be more informed, positive and a better team player at work.

3. Meditation, diet and exercise: Working out releases endorphins that make you feel good. It keeps you fit, in turn increasing your ability to be active and productive at work. Mindfulness and meditation allow your mind to remain centered and calm, so that you can take effective decisions even during stressful times. Get regular check-ups done at the doctor and maintain a healthy diet and sleep routine. Maintain good posture at the office (several people now use standing desks or laptop stands).
To conclude, no matter how hard you work, don’t forget that you need to prioritize your health as well. These might seem like trivial steps, but they are an investment. Not just in your short term success but in your long term fulfillment from life!

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2mbFzR0

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The budget and more – Impact on the youth

 

In the recent past, the Indian government has brought in many changes through the budget and other initiatives. A lot of new ideas have been embraced that will give the youth some incentive to transact easily! This year’s budget has a significant influence in the sectors of Education, Finance and Rural development, with Digitalization of Economy also playing a huge part. For those of you who want some quick snapshots, here are some highlights worth sharing!

    1. The Startup community: There are a lot of fresh provisions and incentives for startups in India in the annual budget! The announcement of tax break is a real breakthrough. By announcing tax break, the Finance Minister has increased the time span for profit-linked deductions available to startups from 5 to 7 years! Interestingly, this tax advantage is valid for only those startups which are recognised by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. For micro, small and medium scale enterprises, there is further good news! The MSMEs will now get a reduction which will benefit almost 96% of companies in the country and will provide a platform for them to compete with larger conglomerates. Also launched newly is the ‘Stand up India scheme’, as per which over 16,000 new enterprises have been set up!
    2. Technology and education: Gen Z students (relative to prior generations) enjoy learning on the Internet. With the launch of SWAYAM (online learning platform), the government is looking to leverage IT for learning! Through this platform, students will have access to at least 350 online courses and will be able to attend the courses taught by the best faculty, take part in discussion forums, take tests and earn academic grades! Additionally, special schemes and programmes for skill development and foreign languages have been proposed. As many as 100 Indian international skill centres are to be established with courses in foreign languages with Rs. 4,000 Crore allocated to launch skill acquisition!
    3. Cashless India:  India is at the cusp of a massive digital revolution! Gen Z finds it very convenient to use credit/ debit cards and payment apps. A major announcement this year was ‘Cashless India’! As per this year’s budget, the Government has proposed to launch 2 new schemes to promote the BHIM app, including a cashback scheme for merchants. Another interesting development is the launch of Aadhar Pay app. This will enable consumers who don’t have mobile phones to make payments without any physical payment instrument. After registration on the app, the merchant’s mobile phone needs to be linked to a Aadhaar biometric reader, for which the password would be the merchant’s fingerprint!

A lot of new ideas are being brought in to support fresh thinking, to make India more digital and efficient. Governments are embracing technology and showing startups a lot of support and encouragement! Several platforms that are applicable to the youth are being launched and advertised creatively! With some notable developments across sectors, it’s going to be interesting to witness a startup revolution combined with the possibility of a cashless India! If you want to start something new this is a great time to embrace the environment and take the plunge! This is a good time to be young in India!

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2kijBP8

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Is it possible to Skill India at Scale? Consider a career in skilling.

 

The constant debate in education is the trade-off between quality and quantity. Given the enormity of our population and the severity of the educational crisis, solving the problem at scale seems daunting. Specifically, employability training is becoming crucial as India gears up to have productive youth. With 57% of the population under 30, ~30,000 colleges and over 5 million students graduating each year, the numbers are massive.

There are several solutions and bodies in the pipeline within our country that are working to help solve the employability crisis at scale. How can you get involved, and what are the initiatives out there?

 

  • United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

 

The UNDP is actively involved with solving the employability crisis. One notable example, Project Disha is a partnership between India Development Foundation, UNDP and Xyntéo, supported by IKEA Foundation, aimed at supporting one million underprivileged women in India learn marketable skills and connect them with income opportunities! The project strives to enable women to become economically self-sufficient so that they, their families and future generations can have better opportunities in life. Initiatives such as these allow philanthropic funds to be allocated to developmental sectors and create change!

  1. Government initiatives

The NSDC is a public private partnership in India under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. It aims to promote skill development by providing funds to to build scalable, for-profit vocational training initiatives.  NSDC acts as a catalyst in skill development by providing funding to enterprises, companies and organisations that provide skill training.  Skill India is a campaign launched by the Indian government which aims to create opportunities for the youth in India. Similarly, Make in India is another campaign launched by the National government which aims to attract capital and technological investment in India, thereby increasing employability opportunities for the youth of India.

  1. Online solutions

Through various platforms found online, education and employment can go hand in hand. There are various online platforms which provide training and industry connect to students. The challenge with online and app based solutions is completion rates, willingness to pay and quality and effectiveness of the training platforms. Students prefer live, personalized learning to canned videos and content they can get free on portals such as Youtube, but providing live, personalized sessions is expensive.

  1. Start-ups in employability assessment and training

Organizations such as Aspiring Minds, Cocubes, Wheebox are working to assess employability of candidates to highlight the skill gap and match relevant profiles to their corporate partners. Organizations such as Talerang collaborate with corporates and colleges to bridge the gap for students directly, both online and offline. The advantage of the private sector is the ability to move quickly. However, partnerships with the Government and UNDP provide opportunities for scale to these private sector companies.
Despite all these different efforts, the goal of skilling hundreds of millions of people in the near future seems a distant reality. If you want to make a difference to India, consider getting involved with the skilling space. Provide insights on how to solve this issue and join an organization or initiative, whether full-time or part-time to solve the gap. Bridging this gap at scale will require millions of bright young people driving the solution! With the right talent involved, the first step to achieving scale will be achieved!

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2jXtM6C

Working with Gen Z?

 

By 2020, Gen Z will account for 40% of all consumers. They are fast thinkers, clear communicators and efficient executors.

There are many factors that make Gen Z unique. Based on a research that Talerang recently conducted, we came across some extremely interesting insights about Gen Z that are summed up in 3 broad categories below:

  1. Technological awareness: Gen Z are the immediate consumers of snack media. About 35.5% of Gen Z spend their time on mobile devices. Gen Z communicates via images and videos rather than messages and are thus very comfortable with evolving technologies. They are eager to experiment with new-age products and are seldom seen referring to product manuals. Calling an Uber, backing up data on the cloud, paying electricity bills via online portals such as PayTM and Freecharge are some tasks that Gen Z would have no trouble with! 46% of Gen Z are true digital natives. While Millennials use 3 screens on average, Gen Zers use 5 – a smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop and iPod/ iPad !
  2. Educational qualifications and skill set: There is a commendable change in this area between Gen Z and Millennials. While Millennials were particularly involved with more traditional courses like Engineering, Banking and Medicine, Gen Z is open to more dynamic future prospects and doesn’t think twice before taking up a course if they feel they are passionate about it. Some examples of such courses include – Digital marketing, Liberal arts and Screenplay writing among several others. About 72% of current high-schoolers in the US want to own their own businesses! They believe they have the ability to bring about a change and disrupt existing systems. Gen Z are adept researchers. They know how to self-educate and find information. 33% watch lessons online, 20% read textbooks on tablets and 32% work with classmates online! Based on our survey, 29% of Gen Z respondents displayed eagerness to learn and an astounding 47% claimed to be fast learners!
  3. Career attitude: Based on a survey we recently rolled out, 34% of Gen Z respondents chose ‘passion’ as the most important factor that drives their career choice while ‘compensation’ was the deciding factor for a mere 4%! Comparing this with previous generations, ‘passion’ was the deciding factor for 30% of the Gen Y respondents and 25% of the Gen X respondents while ‘compensation’ was chosen by 9% of the Gen Y respondents and 8% of the Gen X respondents.

Gen Z have started to enter the work world and we as a society need to get where they’re coming from and accept them for who they are rather than try to mould them into something they are not!

Link to the published article: http://bit.ly/2jOWNVg

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