While millennials grew up with technology, Generation X has had to adapt and learn along the way. People Management spoke to Charterhouse’s managing director for Middle East and Europe, Jennifer Campori, about whether Middle Eastern organisations prefer to employ so-called ‘digital natives’ or if they are prepared to take on ‘digital immigrants’.
When it comes to recruiting talent for digital roles, do organisations prefer younger, more tech-savvy employees or are they happy to train up the older generation?
There is usually a balance between clients hiring digital immigrants and digital natives, as most can see the benefits of having both. Digital natives can sometimes be less organised and focused in their approach to work, losing sight of business goals that require structure, while digital immigrants are very goal-driven and structured in their business approach. I don’t feel clients perceive digital immigrants as too old to learn – at the end of the day, many of them were behind the creation of a large amount of digital tech. A balance of experience and youth is a good thing for any organisation.
Clients will always want to see the best person for the role; the individual that has taken the time to educate his or herself about new technology and utilise it in the best way for the role will be the best candidate for the position.
Do organisations tend to offer training for employees who have not grown up with technology?
Very few organisations are offering training programmes on tech unless it is specifically related to the role, but this will need to change as the importance of tech continues to grow. There are limited courses online and with a few digital agencies, but roles like ‘social media manager’ have really only come about in the last couple of years. And these roles tend to be performed by individuals that have grown to understand the importance of social media through their own use of platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.
A prime example of that is our consultant who covers the digital marketing sector. She runs her own blog in her own time, which gives her the opportunity to learn through her own interests while providing a solid understanding of digital marketing.
Does a digital native in the GCC find they have more options and flexibility in terms of jobs? Can they easily find positions that allow them to travel and work remotely, for example?
Two years ago, there were very few individuals on the market for positions in social media marketing, digital content and so on. However, now you see a large number of candidates and the market has become more selective, with clients wanting to see solid work experience. Due to the nature of the role, individuals are chained to their desks and this flexibility is emerging across several sectors. Certainly, with the age of tech, we have more freedom in our roles, which I believe has given us all the opportunity to have a better work/life balance.