One of the most powerful developments shaping the workforce today is the rise of the millennials. Driven on technology and shaped by their need for self-realisation, here is a generation with a strong desire to connect and find meaning in their work. They thrive within collaborative, flexible workplaces where their voices are heard and appreciated. For this motley generation that grew up with a mix of the laid-back 1990s and the transitional 2000s, work ethos has come to be closely defined by the pursuit of passion.
Even in the current crop of workers, 80% and above believe that they are driven by passion over money. This is true in India, the Gulf and across South Asian countries such as Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia, where Monster conducted this poll. And yet, you would only find 20% or less actually pursuing their passion in their current jobs. In a future where passion is clearly emerging as a priority in the workplace, this mismatch of what one loves to do and what one finally pursues is bound to breed discontentment.
So what stops people from pursuing their dream jobs? Key reasons are often a lack of clarity or lack of opportunities.
Job seekers may be unsure of both where their passion lies and how to go about realising it. If we reverse the perspective here, we can see that recruiters can play an important role in helping bridge this passion-pursuit gap by matching candidates to the right roles. Amongst the millennials entering the workforce today, this means going beyond just identifying skills and expertise. One must ask—what is their driving force? Are they motivated by the money or the role itself? Do they understand and value the work they will do and the company for what it does?
While pay packages and opportunities for growth are always key motivators, we see other stronger incentive in this workforce that must not be ignored—the need for flexibility, a desire to work on their own terms and with the best people, all of which are driven by a strong sense of self. We should no longer be looking for the best person for the job on paper, but for the passion and drive that will ultimately transform this into a productive workforce. For example, the scope for personal development is often one of the top criteria. Do we have the HR strategies in place to cater to this?
Look at the companies that are attracting some of the best talent today. They are building model workplaces that are driven by passion and ambition. Those are the companies that have broken the paradigm with innovative recruitment methods by seeking out people who are driven by the job itself, and offering a culture that values the individual and their development. Today, they are the most profitable companies in the world.
No doubt, passion is a driving force for success. Yet often we think it is hard to find because we are already trained in our current jobs and stepping out might mean a whole new start. But look around and you might find a passionate calling in your own line of work, one that falls within your skill sets.
People have latent skills, which are usually spotted by an outsider and there is a need for an enabler for pushing passion to skills and helping people find better jobs by bringing meaning to their lives. If you are a sales person who loves to travel, you could take that wanderlust and find a job in the travel industry. If you are a mechanical engineer who is also a bike enthusiast, you could focus on your skills and work for a bike manufacturer. If you are a software coder by profession and loved gaming all your life, you can make games coding your career. For those of us who have been working for years, there would be a plethora of opportunities in the skills we have built, if we only take that chance on ourselves.
So plunge into your unknowns and find that deep-seated desire. The only way to do great work is to love what you do and if you don’t then find the sweet spot between what you do and what you love. There are millions of jobs. Many have found theirs. Find yours.
By Sanjay Modi
The author is managing director, Monster.com (India/South East Asia/Hong Kong/Middle East)