Owens primes students as 'Gen Y' business leaders of the future
Published on 26 April, 2012
CQUniversity Associate Professor Alison Owens* recently convened a panel of culturally diverse business students from CQUniversity, RMIT and Swinburne to present at the Australasian Shared Services & Outsourcing Week annual conference, at the Melbourne Convention Centre.
The students, including CQUniversity Accounting student Dishala Thenuwara and PhD candidate Priyantha Bandara, commented on their business interests and career plans as Generation Y future business leaders.
The panel emphasised the cultural diversity of graduates in Australia and the need for local employers to be able to effectively recruit and exploit their talents in an increasingly competitive global labour market.
Employers were encouraged to explore the benefits of employing international students as well as domestic students in their organisations.
"With the new student visa arrangements Australian employers can expect an international student to deliver regular part-time work over a minimum of two to five years and for a further two or three years beyond graduation on a graduate experience visa, " Dr Owens said. "That is about as much loyalty as an employer can expect from any young employee regardless of residency status in the current labour market."
Panel members stressed their interest in gaining industry experience, both during and after their university study.
The capacity for Australian students to speak a second language and participate in an overseas study experience were further priorities identified as important to the Gen Y panel and the Australian professional workplace.
Students identified the benefits and conditions that would attract them: opportunities to observe/participate in the workplace while studying; in-service training options; a strong team-based working culture; options for rotation across departments; a flexible and modern work environment; and space to innovate and experiment with new ideas to improve and develop processes.
When asked in return what Gen Y brings to organisations, the panel suggested: a thirst for information and capacity to process large amounts of it; multiple languages and global connections; inventiveness and capacity to initiate and work with change; strong team commitment; multi-tasking skills; and high energy.
The dominant values of panel members were: ethical and sustainable business practice; continuing learning in the workforce; and strong team relationships.
The panel members were well received by the audience and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and the challenge of presenting. This plenary session was attended by around 400 delegates.
* Associate Professor Alison Owens is Director of CQUniversity's International Education Research Centre