It’s more than certain that all of us want to do ‘better. Whether we want a better job, financial stability, work-life balance, or better health, we look for opportunities that can better our lives in these aspects.
While our definitions of success may be different, the intensifying pace of technology is also changing the way opportunities are presented. Embracing change and learning new skills are also opportunities that can enable us to keep up with the times.
According to the LinkedIn Opportunity Index, confidence is highest in developing economies and among younger generations. The research tracks how people perceive opportunities, along with the barriers that get in the way of achieving those opportunities.
While working hard tops the list of what people perceive it takes to get ahead in life, a willingness to embrace change comes in a close second. People recognise that they have to work hard, adopt a growth mindset and embrace lifelong learning as the economic landscape and job market evolves.
Opportunity gaps, which respondents feel are holding them back, should be narrowed where possible. LinkedIn’s research categorises these gaps into ‘macro’ gaps (outside one’s
control, such as job market conditions) and ‘micro’ gaps (within one’s control, like lack of time and confidence levels).
Globally, respondents feel that a lack of financial resources is holding them back. It is usually a feeling of having insufficient funds and/or having too many family commitments to pay for. This opportunity gap manifests when trying to set up a business or trying to access a quality education. It is also a significant gap when people are searching for ways to have a life better than their parents or spend more time with family and friends but can’t because making ends meet has to be a priority.
Interestingly, all generations also cite age-related opportunity gaps among their top challenges. Of the respondents surveyed, Baby Boomers and Generation Z cite age as their biggest opportunity gap. These represent the two bookends of the generation gap, where Boomers are perceived as ‘too old’, while Gen Z is lacking experience, i.e. ‘too young’.
Knowing the Right People
However, ‘knowing the right people’ also makes a difference. This is especially important among respondents from the United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Mexico, as well as Asia Pacific. For job seekers, social media provides a unique ground where they are able to connect with fellow professionals and expand their network.
Feon Ang, VP of Talent and Learning Solutions, Asia Pacific, LinkedIn says, “On LinkedIn, job seekers can reach out to the rich and diverse community of people from different industries and experience levels to find the right opportunity. Job seekers can also leverage on these platforms to gain insights on what it is like to work with the company, and evaluate if the purpose of the companies and the opportunities offered to employees are in line with what they are looking for.”
“Employers can also post openings on LinkedIn and reach out to a broad community of candidates. LinkedIn will match the role with the most relevant candidates in just 24 hours. Employers can then review the profiles and prioritise their potential candidates through the platform alone,” she continued.
At the same time, employers can also showcase their workplace as a place of great opportunity. “Social media has become a very valuable tool for companies as part of their overall employer branding and communications program. In addition to publishing job openings, companies are able to leverage on social media platforms to share content and showcase the work that they do, along with their culture and values,” says Ang.
“Employers who are able to showcase the learning opportunities for employees as part of their learning and development programs will be able to attract the right talents to the business. We have found that SME employees, particularly Gen Y and Gen Z, are interested in learning and developing themselves,” she explains.
Despite this, employers and employees alike should work together to create opportunities for people at all levels. Whether it is finding a job that is aligned with one’s talents, or taking control of learning and development, the right networks can lead to the right opportunities.
Ang says, “We are in a unique position where we can contribute and be a part of the solution to help students and young professionals overcome their top barriers – lack of experience, skills, network, mentorship – in achieving opportunities. For SMEs looking to attract the right talents, they can benefit from a more thoughtful approach to hiring. This is where we step in to help them understand skills gaps and develop a talent strategy to open up opportunities for business growth.”