According to youths, employers have to be ready for millennials and adapt the work environment accordingly. Meanwhile, employers stress the importance of work ethics and self-motivation. With these and other conclusions, the debates between youths and employers came to an end yesterday, on 27 April.

Within the debates, representatives of leading Latvian companies and youth organisations tried to agree on what employers and youths expect from one another. The debates were a part of the international #YouthEmpowered project, which is organised by Coca‑Cola HBC Latvia in collaboration with Employers’ Confederation of Latvia (LDDK). Employers’ opinions were represented by the Coca‑Cola HBC Public Relations Manager Dace Dricka and Baltic HR Business Partner Madara Alksne, Deputy Director General of LDDK Ilona Kiukucāne, Tele2 HR Management Director Aija Bite-Ozere, and CEO of Blue Shock Bike and Blue Shock Race Artis Daugins. Whereas, youths were represented by the Social Affairs Officer at the Student Union of Latvia Matijs Babris, Junior Achievement Latvia Board Chairman Jānis Krievāns, and founder of the TechChill technology conference Marija Ručevska.

Dace Dricka, Coca‑Cola HBC Public Affairs and Communication Manager

We believe in the potential of youths, which is why we are implementing the #YouthEmpowered initiative for the second year to help youths start a successful career by providing them with essential life and business skills. The project’s aim is to encourage youths to fulfil their own potential by providing support to young people aged 18–30 so that they could achieve their career goals and ambitions.

Ilona Kiukucāne, Deputy Director General of LDDK

Every tenth youth is unemployed. Each of them have different experiences, motivations and level of employability, meaning: how much they are willing to work, what are their job-searching skills and abilities to maintain a job, succeed in it and search for a new one after a certain period of time. To help youths fulfil their potential, we are glad to collaborate with Coca‑Cola HBC Latvia within the #YouthEmpowered project to inspire and motivate youths to bring their potential to fruition together.

Aija Bite-Ozere, Tele2 HR Management Director

There is no doubt that in the future robots will replace humans at workplaces related to purely automated, mechanical and logical processes. However, there is no reason to fear that robots will renders humans useless – we will still be the ones who manage and control robots. Youths who are about to enter the labour market have to not only be well-versed in technologies that will take over all fields in the near future, but also possess leadership skills. Several language skills, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, self-motivation and interdisciplinary knowledge are the most important traits of any future employee.

Artis Daugins, CEO of Blue Shock Bike and Blue Shock Race

All youths working under my leadership are under 30 and have no higher education. The biggest challenge is to discover their potential. Many Latvian youths who are looking for a job lack motivation and understanding of proper work ethics. 95% of the daily work of my companies consists of the unknown that has no stock solutions, so it is important that employees are willing to look for these solutions and make mistakes. We need motivated youths who don’t let mistakes hold them back; many are afraid to take risks and responsibility. Therefore, as an employer, I find it important to discover the invisible side of the work process: what and how big the investments necessary for success are.

Matijs Babris, Social Affairs Officer at the Student Union of Latvia

The data of the EUROSTUDENT 2017 study show that Latvian students dedicate up to 32 hours per week to work. 36% of students say that without paid work they wouldn’t be able to study. 45% primarily work a paid job and study on the side. The study also shows that the study process cannot be effective if students dedicate less than 20 hours per week to it, while those with higher education have 50% more chances of getting the job. We need bigger social support and scholarships so that students could dedicate their time primarily to studying without having to work low-qualified jobs on the side. We also need to ensure qualitative internships, adequate teaching staff and the material and technical basis for an effective study process to make sure that it is closely related to the actual work environment.

Jānis Krievāns, Junior Achievement Latvia Board Chairman

The world is changing, and the labour market is being flooded with millennials, who possess the exact skills and talents that employers should fight for in the 21st century. We have to remember that this generation has a shorter attention span, which means that they don’t want to work 8 hours a day. Company values and work–life balance are very important to this generation. If employers want to attract and maintain these talents, they have to adapt to the new workforce generation and perception thereof and make radical changes. We have to let youths use the skills they have acquired. Start-up companies are quick to adapt to changes, while large corporate companies are struggling.

Marija Ručevska, founder of TechChill technology conference

Employees want to feel harmonious and comfortable in their work environment. Today’s youths want to gain confidence in their skills, take responsibility and work in a pleasant, interesting and motivating environment. As employers, we are responsible for providing our employees with an environment that promotes creativity and allows them to grow and implement their initiatives, discover their entrepreneurial spirit and be challenged according to their level of growth. Employers’ responsibility is to hone their employees into future employers.

Madara Alksne, Baltic HR Business Partner

Our company works in a global environment on a daily basis, which includes very talented youths who we can learn a lot from. It is because of them that we try to bring our work environment up to speed with modern-day expectations. Our company values the ability to work remotely, because work is what we do not where we go to. We are trying to expand on it, because a large portion of our teamwork is done virtually between colleagues and partners working not only in the Baltics, but also around the world. Therefore, it is important to trust and create an environment in which employees have clear job tasks and all the chances to achieve results. In order for employees to help us reach our business goals, we have to provide them with support and opportunities to learn and grow professionally.