Screen-addict uni grads fail to make the grade in workplace
Young university graduates struggle with making small talk and building relationships with colleagues because their social skills have been informed mainly by social media.
The revelation from an expert who works with young jobseekers comes as child psychologists warn helicopter parents have babied their children well into adulthood to cover up for their lack of social skills.
Founder of human skills organisation Maxme, Renata Sguario, said the lack of basic communication skills was making it tougher for young jobseekers to get through a job interview and even if they did land a position, they then struggled in the workplace.
"Generations that have grown up with the internet and rely on texting to communicate are finding the adjustment to the real world of work and face-to-face interaction particularly challenging," she said.
"Australian businesses are struggling to secure the pipeline of talent they need to rebuild and thrive beyond the pandemic.''
Ms Sguario said business leaders wanted more "soft skills'' but that universities were doing very little to teach students how to interact.
"Almost every single senior leader that responded to our research said empathy, listening, self-awareness, collaboration, communicating with impact, and creative problem solving are vital. Yet, students are expected to magically acquire these skills without any guidance."
Adolescent child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg agreed that social media had impaired young people's social skills, but said helicopter parents were also responsible.
"We want young people to be social but because of social media they haven't really developed those interaction skills,'' Dr Carr-Gregg said.
"That's the problem, many of them are just not very good socially and I think the parents are covering for them.
"It is like a kid in kindergarten clinging to their mother.
"Only they're not kids."
He said parents acting as their child's "social secretary" had meant young people did not know how to make new friends. Also, using mobile phones while at school robbed them of the chance to have deep, undistracted conversations with their peers.
"(Once they graduate university) now they're in a situation where they don't have that social secretary anymore and of course they struggle," Dr Carr-Gregg said.
He said the NSW government should ban the use of mobile phones in schools like other states, including Victoria and South Australia.
Job training company owner Maud Vanhoutte said social media had contributed to developing "introverts''.
Originally published as Screen-addict uni grads fail to make the grade in workplace