Attracting the leaders of tomorrow panel discussion 12th June 2016

Who are the leaders of tomorrow and what do they want from the workplace?

On the 9th June Generating Genius, in collaboration with the Powerlist Foundation and Buzzacott hosted an evening to discuss the challenges facing employers with regards to attracting the diverse young ‘millennial’ generation. A panel of representatives from the public and private sector, as well as Generating Genius Alumni, came together to give their insights and share experiences of tackling this important issue.

Dr Marie Stewart MBE, a leader in the field of diversity issues, in her keynote address, encouraged corporates to ‘listen and learn’ and emphasised the importance of allowing young people  to ‘flourish and be themselves’.

Core to the panel discussion was our idea about what ‘diverse’ means; it is much more than just the commonly mentioned themes of gender and ethnicity, but also extends more deeply to culture, upbringing, economic status, interests and perceptions. All agreed that the business case for diversity in all these areas is strong, as the resulting diversity of thought and approach can only be positive for organisations seeking to be innovative and become leaders in their fields.

The visibility of relatable role models was also recognised as being a huge factor in shaping young people’s perceptions of the opportunities available to them. Employers recognise that this is a continuing challenge, as in some cases those role models are few in number or not very visible. Glyn Dean of the RAF said honesty about this fact was imperative and reaching out to groups early, in an effort stop young people discounting options at a young age is important.

Generating Genius Alumni, Marcus, Jamal and Leanna provided insights into their own experiences and highlighted how Generating Genius has supported their journey, not only with regards to the academic elements, but importantly, in being champions for them; encouraging, motivating and supporting their journey to success – whatever that means for the individual. The relationships they made, especially finding inspiring peers who are motivated and interested in the the same things, was also crucial in helping them to visualise success and feel their ambitions could be realised.

Although recognising the challenges ahead the evening ended in a mood of positivity; there is much to be done and a new young workforce will be the ones to inspire and implement gradual change. There are no quick fixes in this field of​ work; sustainable, long term, cross sector commitment to diversity initiatives is needed in order to see real impact.

Many thanks to all involved in the evening, especially all at Firstlight PR, Ellie Seaward, Dawn Whyte, Dr Marie Stewart MBE, David Gustave, Arnaud Heckenroth, Glyn Dean MBE, Yvette Forrester, Jamal Miller, Marcus Nelson and Leanna Dixon.