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AAAH, the dreaded experience versus innovation debate. No one wants to talk about it and no company wants to discuss it; it causes great division among the young and old, and is a thorn in the flesh of the unemployed.

As a young person myself, I might come across biased in my point of view regarding this topic, but bear with me, as I do somewhat regard myself as the voice of the voiceless.

It’s an open secret that most organisations and companies always gravitate towards hiring the more experienced candidate in a pool of interviewees. It’s the ultimate betrayal to the youth, who spend years acquiring tertiary education or post high school training only to be told they ought to have worked for a number of years in order to get a job.

This always feels like a slap in the face from people who constantly motivate the youth to acquire more education and training in skills which they aver will eventually lead to ‘gainful employment’. It really is a mystery how those very same people turn around to state that the standard a candidate requires for that particular position of employment ought to have at least three to five years’ experience.

“But sir, I just completed my undergraduate degree and I am currently unemployed and need to pay my student loan debt, where do you suppose I will get this experience when I need the job immediately?” This not only creates a level of mistrust among the youth but it also results in retaliation and anger. Young people are marginalised and no one seems to care.


However, experience does have its pros and we can’t look past that. Companies want someone who has dealt with particular problems before, they want reliability and assurance, and they want someone who knows what to do when things go wrong and not appear clueless. This is all good and well but the world we live in now needs radicalism, innovation and breakthroughs.

The world doesn’t need someone who doesn’t question processes, strategies and decisions. The world needs new ideas to get an upper hand on the competition, we need relevance and not people who will approach a challenge with the same solutions they had seven years ago, come on people!

The country is in need of groundbreaking innovation, people who are willing to learn and apply vigour and diversity into their line of work. Vision 2022 is aimed at propelling us to First World status, however, the First World is no small feat, when you reach First World status you are now playing with the big guns. These are not just ordinary countries, these are countries that have leading tech industries and innovation is the ultimate requirement. To join the big boys club we have to do as the big boys do.

Therefore, we need to think out of the box and tackle tasks in ways that have never been used before. And to do that, we need fresh blood. Young people are hungry and willing, they approach things with a sense of enthusiasm and zeal. They want to prove the doubters wrong and those who favour them right, so why deprive them the chance of doing this by requiring infinite years of experience?

The popular notion that young people are the future is void if young people are not even being given the chance to become the future. Is it all just a bunch of lies to appear politically correct? Do we really want the best for the youth or are we stating that to somehow gain their favour? These are questions that we truly need to ask ourselves as we steer closer and closer to 2022.

It’s important that industries, companies and organisations realise that hiring someone with no experience challenges the manager, brings in a diversity of ideas and opens up an opportunity to train the inexperienced individual on established processes and procedures without having to break old habits. As the saying goes, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. Companies need to challenge themselves and get out of their comfort zones by hiring the youth because business is all about taking risks. Till next time!

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