It is widely accepted that young business professionals’ values and attitudes towards work are distinctly different to those of earlier generations. Like the generations before them, they have been shaped by the significant economic, political and social events experienced through their formative years. Understanding motivational differences between Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials helps managers to achieve greater results through higher job satisfaction and staff retention.
A stable income and job security are no longer the career motivators they once were. Above anything else, Millennials crave opportunities. The opportunity to continually learn, grow and advance, and to make a difference. Organisations willing to invest in development, provide new challenges and instant feedback, will be rewarded with a motivated and engaged workforce.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia, one of the Big 4 firms, has collaborated with the University of South Australia Business School through the University’s Business Career Mentor Program (BCMP). They have found this has not only helped develop aspiring business professionals, but revealed a better understanding of Millennial needs. This has, in turn, informed how they approach recruitment and talent development.
“For PwC, the relationship provides opportunity,” says Senior Manager in PwC Australia’s Consulting team and mentor Ailsa Young.
“In this day and age, potential graduates are looking for more than just a job.
“The BCMP has let us understand what their non-negotiables are when they are looking for an employer.
Offering mentors with early career insights through to senior management and partner experience, PwC’s involvement spans the career life cycle and is a means to connect with some of the state’s top students.
The BCMP forms part of a wide range of activities offered through the UniSA Business School designed to create career enhancing opportunities for students through industry connections.
Since 2011, the BCMP has successfully paired hundreds of experienced industry mentors with dedicated UniSA Business School students through a rigorous process. Launching with 68 pairs, the program has now grown to almost 200 pairs, with local, interstate and international mentors on board. The UniSA Business School has also engaged local head offices whose staff have gone above and beyond their roles as mentors to become corporate partners of the program. From SMEs to large organisations such as PwC, the mentor program currently boasts 20 corporate partners from business and law.
“We work with industry to develop career-ready graduates,” says Senior Consultant of Careers and Alumni at the UniSA Business School, Jo Slade.
“Ensuring that students’ theoretical knowledge is complemented with relevant business skills is essential.
“Understanding corporate culture and developing the necessary soft skills to be a professional is critical for successful career transition and progression.”
Retired Partner of PwC Australia and UniSA Business School graduate Michael Browne has been an active mentor since 2014 and views the program as an opportunity to shape emerging stars.
“The job market is difficult so the benefit of mentoring is to help students be better prepared for the opportunities before them,” says Michael.
Michael has helped mentees such as UniSA Accounting graduate and Graduate Accountant at BDO Olivia Colombo beyond practical job application and interview tips.
“My mentor’s constant support and advice meant I had total confidence in my ability as a future professional, and in myself,” says Olivia.
“I achieved my ultimate goal of being career-ready before I graduated and honestly don’t believe I would be where I am today had I not chosen to be a part of it.”
UniSA Law and Commerce (Accounting) graduate and now Consultant in PwC Australia’s Private Clients team Dan Calio reaped similar benefits as a mentee and today imparts his knowledge as a mentor.
“As a mentee I was able to develop my personal brand and build networks. As a mentor I’ve been able to continually develop my own skillset and connect with younger professionals,” says Dan.
“For PwC, the program allows us to connect with talented students on a deeper level and help them on their path of personal development.”
Ailsa has championed initiatives to leverage this opportunity for students.
She worked alongside her mentee, then UniSA international Masters student and 2015 Mentee Award winner Jade Yang, to bring 25 students into PwC’s Adelaide office.
“Jade expressed interest in seeing our activity-based-working office space in action, so we extended this offer more widely and it turned out to be really popular,” says Ailsa.
“The students toured the office and learnt about different opportunities at PwC as well as how to apply for graduate positions and what to expect working with a Big 4.
“Being able to look back and see how the conversations you have had have shaped someone’s thinking and confidence is truly rewarding.”
To learn more about the UniSA Business Career Mentor Program and how the UniSA Business School supports the career development of future leaders, contact the Careers & Alumni team at email@example.com or phone (08) 8302 0179.
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