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What can you learn from your parents about advancing your career?
Today's millennials are entering a vastly different job economy than their parents did several years ago. This new and intensely competitive job market means that it is critical for young professionals to draw on their networks for guidance on job searching and career development, however parental advice remains a valuable yet untapped resource.
As a report released in late September by the Conference Board of Canada illustrates, young professionals today are the first generation of Canadians to be financially worse off than their parents. The generational gap is further widened by the fact that many jobs today didn't exist when baby boomers and Gen Xers were entering the work force. This chasm might explain why parents are so hesitant to offer their children words of professional wisdom and why, as a result, today's young workers are missing out on vital career guidance from this key part of their network – their parents.
We just released a study at LinkedIn which told us that 60 per cent of Canadians think their parents have workplace knowledge or skills that they have yet to pass on. That tells me that we all could be doing a better job at making connections across generations. What wisdom do Canadian parents have to impart and why should they be more vocal?
We found that Canadian parents believe the top five skills they can impart to their children are: problem solving, perseverance, integrity, time management and teamwork. However, many are not sharing their knowledge of these skills because they either don't think their child would listen or don't have a strong enough understanding of what their child does at work.
Yes, the professional landscape has changed dramatically but these skills will always be valuable in the workplace. The qualities that drove young professionals' parents to success remain important to employers when choosing to hire or promote candidates today.
By bridging this gap and helping parents to pass along key skills, we can ensure a competitive Canadian work force and enhance collaboration between professionals across generations.
The most valuable piece of advice I ever received was from my mother. And it did not come in the form of a verbal communication, it came in the values that she acts on every day of her life. Resilience and responsibility were two characteristics that she demonstrated and became a core of who I am today. The actions that she demonstrated in the face of difficulty were as relevant for me in the business arena as they were for her in raising a son and I have kept them in mind throughout every phase in my career.
The importance of having resilience, a strong work ethic and integrity transcend occupation, generation and level on the corporate ladder. We want to show young professionals the value of their parents' perspectives and to encourage parents to share them with the launch of our second annual Bring In Your Parents Day on Nov. 6.
Are you a parent who has been cautiously holding back? I hope you'll consider providing your advice when your adult child is facing a difficult time or an issue at work. Too often we bite our tongues, worried that we'll come off as dated or irrelevant. As the research shows, our kids feel they are missing out on our advice, so we should feel comfortable providing input.
We invite companies worldwide to participate in Bring In Your Parents Day, by opening their doors to their employees' parents to give them an inside view of their children's professional lives. Our hope is that once Canadian parents see exactly how their children have benefitted from their support, they will be more inclined to offer guidance. All you have to do is ask.
Brian Church is country manager for Canada and head of sales solutions for North America at LinkedIn (@LinkedIn).