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Young people have no work ethic

The majority of people surveyed for a recent IMechE poll said young people don't have the work ethic needed to succeed in industry.

The results aren't shocking in the least. But they are disappointing. We, as an industry, have been talking about the skills issue for what feels like forever. And, quite frankly, we seem to be going round in circles.

While it is true that today's teenagers have a greater sense of entitlement than previous generations, it is also a fact that they have fewer opportunities than their parents did: jobs for life are no more, house prices are way out of line with incomes, and most degrees will set the average graduate back by around £40k and not even guarantee them a job at the end of it.

There are a lot of Kevin and Perry's in this world, there's no denying it, but there are also a lot of hard working young people with a great work ethic who are willing to get their head down and get the job done (take last year's BEEAs winner Michael Aldridge as an example).

Despite what the IMechE, or any other poll might suggest, not all of us 'youths' are content with sitting at home watching the likes of TOWIE or Jeremy Kyle all day. So please, don't tar us all with the same brush.

Laura Hopperton

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What you think about this article:

"If however, the current definition of work ethic is to accept being exploited, underpaid and undervalued,"

The Older generation also went through this it is called "Paying your Dues"

Posted by: Bob, 16/02/2014
As a young Engineer, I got a bit hot under the collar when I first saw the title, then was relieved when I read the rest and saw that the author understood the pressures on this generation of Engineers.

It seems to be an impossible catch 22 to get onto the career ladder as a young engineer. Most potential employers request a lot of experience but none are willing to give the chance to a young graduate to accrue the said experience.

The few that do, offer unpaid internships with little prospects or poorly paid roles to milk out the young engineers who are doing the same jobs(sometimes better) as their older counterparts for half the salary.

Coupled with the disillusionment of realising that the Engineer will be far down below in the pecking line below the salespeople, the bean-counters and the shareholders, ground down by 15th century mill engineering mentalities and reverse-ageism faced daily ; It is no wonder than young Engineers see their job as a 9-5 bread wining thing with no personal interest or pride.

Call it lack of Work Ethic; I will call it the natural response of a modern thinking generation who analyse and question the status quo instead of merely Keeping Calm and Carrying On with a stiff upper lip. But inside, harbouring the intense job dissatisfaction shown by the majority of old Engineers I meet.

If the definition of work ethic is to give 100% at all times and take pride in one's work, then young people indeed have no work ethic.

If however, the current definition of work ethic is to accept being exploited, underpaid and undervalued, then I'm afraid what we are perceiving as "lack of work ethic" is actually the reaction of the typical young person faced with a fruitless and unrewarding pursuit; a resounding "Meh!"

Scientist Nick

Posted by: Nick S, 28/05/2013

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