It is a bit creepy to wander through the corridors and cubicles of the marketing- and communication departments of corporations, societies and agencies these days. You can feel a silent dark monkey vegetating on about everyone’s shoulder: digital has come to town, and it’s changing the game. In a big way.
Access to and understanding of Digital ways of communicating, advocating and marketing become rapidly a vital part of the skill sets required to thrive in this fast evolving and demanding industry. The older ones, comfortably installed on top of the hierarchy curve, the ones with grey hair, mileage, and experience are confident. Their understanding of client needs, market and politics will most probably bring them to their retirement in a comfortable way. They can, and will surround themselves with teams that do understand the newer way of working and interacting.
For the new upcoming generation, life looks bright as well. Everyone is looking for digital talent, and people that are by default and almost by birthright connected to a plethora of online social networks do not need to understand the game. They are the game, and they establish new rules of engagement every single day, reshaping the look and feel of the online community every couple of months. They are the new Stellar Express, the young and fierce ones that bring interactivity and engagement deep into the center of businesses.
I’m worried for the in-between-ones. The ones not quite there yet, but well on their way. Doom is glooming on their path. Retirement is way too far off, to be an option, and their digital skills are mostly alien, new, or not existing. Part of that generation is shaping up, deep diving in the new technologies and skills. They will survive. Part of that generation does not want to adapt. They already gave: countless hours at universities and demanding traineeships. They feel they are ‘there’ now. They do not want to invest, in themselves, and in their future.
Darwin was no fool when he said: “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent… but rather the one most adaptable to change”. If that generation does not take up its bronze knuckles it will be swept away by the generation that is already breathing in its neck. If corporations and agencies do not find a way of motivating these people, and skilling them up, they will lose a capital in human intellectual power.
It’s already happening. Young, smart high potentials are seen in most corporations leaping over people with more years of experience. People are being outrun by smart high po’s that combine the power of digital nativity with a relentless easiness to adapt.
Who will save the Lost Generation? Do they want to be saved? O tempora o mores!