UK plc’s next talent pool threatened as Realtime Generation vows to seek better work life balance abroad

  • Survey suggests UK 13-17 year olds position UK plc ahead of US in race to become successful knowledge economy
  • Yet UK lags behind in investment in Realtime Generation

Slough, England, 7 August, 2007 –The UK’s next generation workforce has the skills to become the world’s leading knowledge economy but could apply their talents elsewhere if their desire for a better work life balance are not supported by UK employers, according to independent research released today and commissioned by international solutions provider, Logicalis.

The survey looks at the attitudes of 13-17 year olds on topics ranging from their expectations of how they will work in the future, to their expected experiences of higher education. It reveals that 81 per cent of this generation have already thought about their work life balance, with 75 per cent stating an intention to work abroad at some point in their careers. Eleven per cent of those questioned were already sure that they would seek alternative employment if their employer asked them to put work before their family.

The survey suggests that the sophisticated expectations of this ‘Realtime Generation’ of children born after 1990, about where and how they will learn and work, are fuelled by the increased global perspective offered by the Internet, and a growing use of Internet powered communications services, and social networking and publishing sites. These resources encourage them to share ideas and seek opinions from, and with, a wide variety of sources, and to demonstrate the traits that describe a classic knowledge worker.

For example, 91 per cent of children questioned claimed to use Instant Messaging at least once a week. Over 50 per cent used Instant Messaging daily, and over half (55 per cent) expected to continue this practice in the workplace to communicate with colleagues. 87% of survey respondents stated they were members of an online community, with over a third (35 per cent) claiming to have written their own blog, and nearly half (47 per cent) having read somebody else’s.

Based on the results of a comparative study, the UK Realtime Generation’s use of personal technology even exceeds that of their US counterparts, [1] putting the UK in a strong position globally. However, in contrast to the Realtime Generation’s willingness to embrace technology to improve their work life balance, the latest available OECD figures ranked the UK , 13 th out of 30 countries, for investment in ‘knowledge’, [2] which it defines as R&D, university, and software tools.

Tom Kelly, managing director, Logicalis UK , comments, “Gordon Brown recently re-emphasised the importance of realising the talents of all our people, in his vision of Britain as the great global success story of the century. But the UK ‘s ability to maintain its position as a leading knowledge economy over the next 20 years, will depend on how we act now. In an increasingly global market, the future of our economy will be defined by whether a 13 year old in Bolton can compete for that knowledge economy job, against a 13 year old in Bangladesh or Beijing ”.

“We know from our research that the UK ‘s Realtime Generation has the tools and the talent to do this. But will this highly capable generation have the support and investment from business, education, and government, to encourage them to keep this talent on these shores, and ensure it is used to further the economic success of UK plc?”

Emphasising their expectance to continue to use collaboration tools in work and university, over a third (38per cent) thought that making university lectures available online, to view anytime, would either be a reality or a very good idea, while nearly half (48 per cent) predicted that webcams were either already used in business, or would be by the time they got there. In a stark reminder to university leaders about the role of technology in education, 67% of these future student consumers stated that technology experience would play a significant part in their selection of university location.

In light of the independent research, Logicalis suggests some key steps where government, education, and business can focus their efforts to ensure they attract and retain the best of the Realtime Generation talent pool:

  • UK Government must work with key stakeholders in education, business, and Internet Service Providers, to ensure that all of the UK ‘s 13-17 year olds have access to new communication technologies and services, and that social policy reflects the requirements for digital inclusion for all.
  • UK Government must view this Realtime Generation’s willingness to co-operate and collaborate with friends, family and the rich forms of new content and media, as a major asset to UK plc, and must look at the earliest possible time to encourage collaboration in the classroom and community, through the creation of national strategic social technology strategy.
  • UK universities must manage the changing nature of the education experience, with education content and the education process, and ensure that the technology experience of their students is high on their education proposition agenda, or risk alienating a large proportion of their future income stream from students, at home and abroad.
  • UK business leaders must become technology aware, and the ownership of technology experience and strategy in the workplace must lie squarely in the boardroom. CEOs who shy away from understanding the information technology strategy of their business will risk losing access to a workforce of natural collaborators that will in turn challenge future competitive edge and profitability.
  • UK business leaders must be prepared to invest in information technology innovation, and better manage the emergence of ‘consumer’ orientated technologies into the workplace.
  • UK business must embrace new methods of collaborative and flexible working to ensure a supply of new top human talent for their workforce.

For more details of the survey, visit http://www.logicalis.com