CEOs Predictions About The 2020 Workplace

CEOs predicted a Pandemic in 2020! But did the world listen?

Domenic Saporito examines "the 2020 Workplace", a 2010 book about the future of work and the new normal


In late 2010...

I remember reading a book titled “The 2020 Workplace”.

The book was a summary of interviews conducted by the authors Jeanne C. Meister & Karie Willyerd with hundreds of forward-thinking CEOs as they prepared to lead their businesses through the next decade.

I was so taken by what I read, I summarised the top 20 predictions of what our workplaces would look like in 2020 and passed it onto my senior staff. I told them, “If what we do doesn’t align with what is in this book, we ain’t doing it!”

Now, having plenty of time on my hands thanks to COVID-19, I took some time out to look back on the predictions of 10 years ago to see how accurate they were. Remember, some of the biggest and most successful tech businesses in existence today, like Zoom, Monday and Instagram, didn’t even exist when experts made these predictions!

But you could have knocked me over with a feather! When I re-read this stark warning in Chapter 8:

"Smart companies should prepare now for wild cards as disasters such as pandemics, terrorisom and mass climate change that will create an even greater focus on teleworking ... and migration to all forms of virtual work."
Jeanne C. Meister & Karie Willyerd
The 2020 Workplace

Creepy amazing, I think you’d agree!

So, if 100 CEOs can predict a COVID-19 type pandemic that would be the catalyst to redefine our workplaces 10 years before it happened, I wonder how accurate they were with their other predictions?

I’ll let you decide. Here are their top 20:

  1. You will be hired and promoted based on your reputational capital
    Your personal brand, expertise and the breadth, depth and quality of your social networks will be vital in getting a job in 2020.
  2. Your mobile device will become your office, your classroom and your concierge
  3. The global talent shortage will be acute
    Fast-breaking technological breakthroughs in new products and services will create a huge demand for new jobs with more complex skills.
  4. Recruiting will start on social networking sites
    Questions from employers will include: How many followers do you have on LinkedIn? How many people have recommended you on LinkedIn? Have you turned any of your followers, connections or friends into new business? Do you blog regularly about issues related to your job or industry? Have you participated in any innovation events?
  5. Web computers will force corporate offices to reinvent themselves
    Knowledge workers will increasingly elect to work at “third places”. Not at work or home, but informal public spaces such as cafes, coffee shops and coworking spaces.
  1. Companies will hire entire teams
    Instead of individuals, to tackle big business problems.
  2. Job requirements for CEOs will include blogging
    The fastest way to communicate broadly with customers and clients will be via social media (right, Donald Trump?!)
  3. The corporate curriculum will use video games, simulators and alternate reality games as key delivery models
    Corporate training will be transformed into a nimble, fun and highly collaborative experience, to develop leadership and complex critical thinking skills.
  4. A 2020 mindset will be required to thrive in a networked world Employees will communicate, connect and collaborate with one another, around the globe, using the latest forms of social media, working in virtual teams, to solve problems and create new ideas. Other mindsets needed will include: Social Participation, Global Thinking, Ubiquitous Learning, Thinking Big, Acting Fast, Constantly Improving and Embracing Cross-Cultural Power.
  5. Human resources’ focus will move from outsourcing to crowdfunding
    A bit like the open source community, rather than outsourcing problems to third-party providers or consultants, companies will empower their communities to provide solutions to their biggest problems.
  1. Corporate social networks will flourish and grow inside companies
    Millenials and Gen 2020 will demand access to external social networks. Forward-looking companies will exploit the power inherent to social networks to attract new staff, develop new skill sets, support and enhance team knowledge, drive collaboration and improve innovation.
  2. You will elect your own leader
    Companies that allow employees to elect their own leaders have become the “employers of choice”.
  3. Lifelong learning will be a business requirement
    Lifelong learning will be required to continually update one’s skills for both current and future roles
  4. Work-life flexibility will replace work-life balance
    Uber-connectivity and virtual workspaces will allow employees to choose the times of day to work that suits them.
  5. Companies will disclose their corporate social responsibility programs to attract and retain staff
    Increased focus on people, planet and profit.
  1. Diversity will be a business issue rather than a human resources issue
    There will be a focus on multicultural talent.
  2. The lines between marketing, communication and learning will blur
    Companies will create online learning that not only teaches customers how to use their products, but builds brand loyalty along the way.
  3. Corporate app stores will offer ways to manage work and personal life better
  4. Social media literacy will be required for all employees
  5. Building a portfolio of contract jobs will be the path to obtaining permanent, full-time employment

How do you think they went? Not bad for 10 years ago! I can’t imagine trying to predict, in such detail, what the world would look like in another 10 years.

10 out of 10, or should I say 20 out of 20, to Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd and the CEOs they spoke to. I can’t wait to get my hands on “The 2030 Workplace”.

Source: Meister, J. C. & Willyerd, K. (2010). The 2020 Workplace. Harper Collins.

Domenic Saporito is the co-founder of Outcome.Life and GADA Technology. Dom has started, run and sold many businesses throughout his career, ranging in industry from property to tech, and even golf! As a business owner, product developer and chartered accountant with 15 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, Dom enjoys sharing his knowledge, insights and advice with international students looking to enter the job market in Australia.

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Making Your Impact as an Intern

Making Your Impact

Week 3: Exceed Your Host Company's Expectations

Be memorable, be remarkable

Being a memorable and remarkable intern requires some work on your part. People who are serious about their careers go above and beyond when it comes to showing their worth in the workplace.

Some simple ways that you can be memorable and remarkable during your internship include:

  • Always be ready to start your day at your allocated start time (e.g. if you start at 9am, arrive at 8.50am and get prepared for the day)
  • Staying 5-10 mintues later than you “have to” shows dedication
  • Getting through your tasks without delay and requesting additional work shows engagement and enthusiasm
  • Offering to help a fellow teammate on their project or tasks
  • Requesting feedback from your supervisor

These tasks might seem easy, but they do make a big difference to your supervisor’s opinion of your performance.

You might still be thinking, “Okay, but what does going above and beyond really mean?”

It’s ultimately about doing things that may not be asked of your, but that you can see as a problem to be solved or a task to be completed.

"Be memorable, be remarkable."
Domenic Saporito
Co-Founder, Outcome.Life

A perfect example...

After joining the internship program with Outcome.Life, Argho was placed with a FinTech company that have designed a payroll service add-on for businesses that allow employees to access their earned wages before payday when they need. The product helps to provide staff with access to a financial wellness platform that improves employee well-being, reduces workplace stress and increases productivity.

As an intern, Argho was offered an internship in line with his studies in IT with a primary focus on Data Analysis. He received a Training Plan prior to starting his internship which included tasks, responsibilities and learning outcomes only related to data analytics.

In the second week of his internship, Argho overheard two of the company directors discussing a financial component called “Fringe Benefits Tax”. Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) is paid by an employer on certain benefits they provide to their employees, employee’s families or other associates. FBT applies even if the benefit is provided by a third party under an arrangement with the employer. Needless to say, this is something accountants usually deal with… and has nothing to do with IT or data analytics!

Argho made a very clear decision to go home and research this topic. He then proceeded to write a report on the impacts of FBT within the business and what options may be available for this particular FinTech business.

So what happened?

The next day, Argho sent an email with the report to his supervising director, explaining his research. Needless to say, the director was incredibly pleased.

From the director’s point of view, this intern, who had only been at the company for two weeks, was showing initiative a clear understanding of the business and a willingness to go above and beyond and even into a sector separate from his IT knowledge.

As you can imagine, this was very impressive and, by the third week of his internship, Argho had secured himself a full-time position with the company

Not every internship will allow you the chance to make a bold gesture like Argho but, in every workplace, you will find someone who is under-resourced or who may need a little extra support and would appreciate your help.

So give your internship the care and attention that it deserves and try to find ways that you can go the extra mile to show your supervisor and colleagues everything you can do!

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Software Testing Intern to Full-Time Employee

By Domenic Saporito

Are you one of many international students struggling to get a job in your field of study here in Australia?  

Well, instead of sending out 100’s of applications to ads on job boards for no reply, perhaps it is time to try something a little different. Let me explain…

Sid & Bindu were two Computer Science students in their final semester at Deakin University. Knowing that completing a degree is only a small part of building a successful career, come enrolment time, they chose to do a work placement as an elective.

Sid & Bindu joined a software development company as testers. But not just ordinary testers… Automated software testers! 

Sid & Bindu implemented the company’s very first ‘automated software testing framework’ and, in the process, made themselves valuable, sought-after graduates.

Their first responsibility was to research and recommend the latest and greatest in automated testing frameworks. They looked for frameworks that suited the software applications being built. For this, they chose Puppeteer. Not just because the applications were being built in JavaScript, but because of a unique feature that allows multiple User Sessions to be tested at once – something not many other frameworks can do.

Throughout their 12-week internship, Sid & Bindu successfully built and implemented a comprehensive library of tests that they then integrated into the company’s automated build process called Jenkins.

Sounds amazing? It was! But not as hard as it sounds.

Both Sid & Bindu now have full-time jobs as Automated Software Testers in separate companies, applying the skills they acquired during their internship.

The stark reality is that in a competitive graduate market, today’s employers want more than just a qualification. They want graduates with real-world experience! Whilst a university can provide a degree, an internship will get you a job.

So, if you are here over summer and think that an internship may make you more employable after graduation, give us a call.  It may be the catalyst that kick starts your career. 

Internships are available in a wide variety of disciplines including Engineering, IT, Accounting, Marketing & Social Media.

Domenic Saporito is the co-founder of Outcome.Life and GADA Technology. Dom has started, run and sold many businesses throughout his career, ranging in industry from property to tech, and even golf! As a business owner, product developer and chartered accountant with 15 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, Dom enjoys sharing his knowledge, insights and advice with international students looking to enter the job market in Australia.

Have a business idea but not a resident? South Australia wants you!

Pictured (L to R): Domenic Saporito (Outcome.Life), Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu (Little Green Panda), Usman Iftikhar (Catalysr), Natanael Yan Setiawan (Pencil Rocket) and Benjemen Elengovan (MySafetyBot).

In November, Outcome.Life collaborated with Spark Deakin, a young entrepreneur support and mentoring service by Deakin University, to host a very insightful panel discussion with several young international entrepreneurs.

These former international students were courageous enough to follow their own dreams rather than someone else’s, by starting their businesses to solve some of our world’s biggest problems.

Interestingly, two of the four founders have chosen to take advantage of a new initiative by the South Australian Government. The program provides a fast-tracked pathway to permanent residency via entrepreneurship.

Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA) is a 3-year pilot looking to drive entrepreneurship and innovation in South Australia with accelerated migration as an incentive.
The program encourages internationals with a new business concept to start in South Australia with support from the State Government. The benefits include networking opportunities with other local and international business people, mentoring programs and a business support network in South Australia. In return, a healthy start-up ecosystem is being built in South Australia, as well as the potential for employment growth.

Daniel Tan and Natanael Yan Setiawan, founders of video production & social media startup Pencil Rocket explained, “The application process was fairly straightforward once we received support from NVI”. NVI, or New Venture Institute, is an award-winning accelerator program and one of four accredited accelerators working with South Australia’s universities.

Daniel picked up his life and moved to Adelaide to satisfy the requirements of the program. When asked how was the change from living in Melbourne to Adelaide, Daniel responded, “It’s certainly a little quieter. But the fewer people means I have been able to develop deeper relationships with other businesses founders.”

He added, “I am also leading a healthier lifestyle as there is not the pressure to work late and skip healthy meals”. When asked if moving to Adelaide has adversely affected his business, Daniel replied “Not really, there is still plenty of work out there for us”.

Usman Iftikhar of Catalysr, a pre-accelerator run for migrants & refugees, spoke of the growing awareness of the SISA initiative amongst international students, migrants & refugees, “More and more Australian migrant entrepreneurs are contemplating a move to Adelaide. I hope the other states get on board soon.”

The founder of MySafetyBot, Benjemen Elengovan, also recently applied for the SISA program after completing his education in Melbourne as an international student. Benji’s startup assists businesses to record and prevent workplace injuries. Benji will be relocating himself and his business to Adelaide within weeks.

In contrast, Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu of Little Green Panda isn’t going anywhere. Her 15-month-old business, supplying eco-friendly drinking straws to retail and large hotel chains, is flying! The New Zealand resident also spoke about more traditional startup issues she faces: lack of time, resources and access to the funds necessary to fill her mounting orders.

Not everyone is suited for a corporate job in Australia. Just like locals, many international students and migrants would prefer to be self-employed. History shows that Australia’s economy and has been built on migrants arriving in Australia and starting businesses. But rarely has entrepreneurship been a basis for immigration into Australia.

So well done to South Australia! SISA is an exceptional initiative taken up by South Australia recognising the contribution international entrepreneurs can make to this country. If Victoria wants to continue to be seen as the most progressive entrepreneurial state, it is time for the Victorian government to follow in the footsteps of our footy-loving neighbour!

Outcome.Life is all set to run its own pre-accelerator program over summer in conjunction with La Trobe Accelerator Program (LAP). Last year, we had the pleasure of assisting 28 entrepreneurs, including 3 locals, to realise their business ideas. Many went on to commercialise their businesses and several joined conventional accelerator programs, including LAP.

If you have a business idea or early-stage business and are looking to validate and/or commercialise it, what are you waiting for? Find out more about our free pre-accelerator program here, or you can fill out an expression of interest form here!

You can also get in touch with us at Outcome.Life to learn more about our internship programs.

Domenic Saporito

Why Startups Provide Bigger, Better, More Enjoyable Employment Opportunities than Big Corporates

Pictured (L to R): Domenic Saporito (Outcome.Life), Byron Aguirre (GADA Technology), Harish Venkateswaran (Central Queensland University), Andrew Klyscz (Pitcher Partners), Sam Brown (Pelikin) & Shubham Bawa (intern).

Another great night was had to showcase the opportunities that startups present for those looking for their first role in a competitive graduate market.

While some graduates chase their parents dream of working in a big name corporate, more savvy graduates target small, nimble startups, working hard to solve noble and often global problems side by side with start-up founders.

Shubham Bawa, final year Software Engineering student from the University of Melbourne, spoke of how interning with a startup in the La Trobe Accelerator program to produce their POC then MVP, using the latest front end mobile development tool (flutter by google), led to securing a full time gig with a larger software development company, one week before finishing his internship.

Emily Cheng, Accounting Graduate from Federation Uni spoke of her disappointment of being excluded from Big 4 Graduate Programs because of an archaic HR policy where these so-called “Global Accounting Firms” will only take on Australian Citizens, to have one of them come knocking on her door two years later after smashing it at a smaller but equally brilliant firm that bats well above their weight in the specialist area of R&D Consulting.

A panel of professional business people talking about the value of internships
Harish Venkateswaran, La Trobe Uni HR graduate, spoke of how an internship in a start-up placement business let to him securing a senior position with a University that ranks 3rd in Australia for graduate employment with 86% of their students securing full-time employment within 4 months after graduation. 

Sam Brown, Founder of Pelikin, an Australian Startup that provides a multi-currency free banking app and prepaid Visa card for young travellers, spoke of how interns in IT & Accounting assisted his new business go global.

And finally, Andrew Klyscz of Pitcher Partners Melbourne spoke of how, whilst most graduates clamber to competed for Cyber Security positions with the big banks, literally thousands of privately owned and/or small businesses, with the same issues as the banks, but with quicker career progression through a wider variety of work tasks for graduates, were being ignored.

The conclusion: even if you do wish to work in a big corporate one day to make your parents proud, a great way to get there is to start in a smaller, nimbler,  start-up where the learning is often faster, the tasks broader and where your work will have more consequence.


Diversity matters: How five tech startups are improving workplace diversity

Creating diversity is a complex problem, particularly in specialised sectors like technology.

Education, government and media are key sectors in bringing about change. Business, while also being key, differs in that it needs diversity. As the consumer of diversity, businesses have the most to gain when we get diversity right.

Past TechDiversity Award Business category winners have proven just that. In creating innovative diversity programs, brands including REA Group, Vodafone and Avanade are using technology to foster diversity.

Five of these businesses talk through their processes.

To support #TechDiversity in your workplace, attend the Gala Awards Dinner and be inspired by the conversation of the positive that is happening in diversity.

Check your biases

As a global jobs network, Work180 advocates for working women across multiple companies and industries by providing job applicants with a transparent directory of endorsed employers supporting diversity, inclusion and equality.

This process begins by screening employers, asking them to share information around pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and other criteria. This allows Work180 to assess employers’ acceptance of age, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation before allowing them to join the network.

Even employers who don’t make it through this check then undergo the next steps to improving and developing workforce participation.

Create an inclusive community

Outcome-Hub is a co-working space between University of Melbourne and RMIT with an open-door policy for international students to visit, spend time, engage and even start a business. In 2018, Outcome-Hub welcomed over 4000 people and hosted 60 events to inspire internationals to participate in the local start-up community.

The core project is facilitating placements of international students into internships with startups in Australia. With well over 100 placements been made to date, these startups gain the advantage of a culturally diverse business while many interns become valuable long-term team members or start their own business.

This is supported by their digital marketplace, InternMatch, which helps to connect even more international students with start-ups.

Open specific opportunities

Envato’s in-house Apprentice Developer Program was created to tackle the industry-wide skill shortage and gender diversity challenge. The program is only open to female applicants and provides mentorship for apprentice developers, equipping them with the skills to become junior developers.

It aims to ensure capable female coders have a clearer pathway to entry in a highly skilled and technical job through a combination of classroom and immersive-style learning. As apprentices grow from programming real tasks with mentors to fully fledged engineering team members, Envato gains trusted employees while offering women opportunities to grow and network.

Invest in the future

Joko’s World, Cultural Infusion’s interactive learning apps for children aged 7-14, blend global music, geography and culture in an innovative and educational way to improve children’s cultural awareness and understanding.

By stimulating and engaging the next generation with unique customs and traditions around the world, the app develops multicultural appreciation and curiosity from a young age through a digital platform.

Cultural Infusion also developed Ancestry Atlas, a sophisticated tool that enables an organisation, school or group to map their cultural diversity. Partnering with the Australian National University (ANU), this app further encourages children to look at real word diversity.

Raise awareness

Women make over 85% of purchase decisions equating to $874 billion last year alone. Femeconomy’s mission is for women to shop female lead brands. Femeconomy researched over 2000 brands finding those with at least 30% of women on their Board of Directors or 50% female owned.

Currently over 800 brands meet Femeconomy’s approval criteria for an approval badge on the website. The goal is to map all businesses meeting this criteria in Australia, then the US and UK, in an effort to raise consumer awareness of gender equality in company leadership.

More women in leadership benefits business. Research from Peterson Institute of International Economics shows that moving from no women in corporate leadership to 30% is associated with a 15% increase in profitability.


*Source- Smartcompany

Is this the ‘WORLD’S BEST KEPT SECRET’ for Australian Business Owners?

In an economy where resources are stretched more than ever, businesses struggle to find capable talent. With wage costs increasing, many businesses owners find themselves with far more work than available time.  Many would like to engage an intern to help, but simply can’t afford to pay them – but do they need to?

Heralded as the ‘world’s best kept secret’ for business owners, it is not only possible to have an unpaid intern, but very advantageous to do so.  So if you’re under-resourced and time poor (read: everyone!) here’s why you should consider engaging an international student intern, and how you can obtain one:

Why should I consider an international student intern?

A qualified (and possibly experienced) extra set of hands

Every business appreciates an extra set of hands for the projects that they just don’t have time to do themselves.  With interns qualified in areas such as accounting and ICT, there is a vast array of valuable and important projects you can receive assistance with.

What’s more, many international student interns also have work experience, that they obtained previously in their home country.  This means that only minimal training may be required, and you may be able to receive assistance on more senior projects.

Motivation and positivity in droves

No matter how great your business is, it can always benefit from more positive and motivated employees! International students who are at the beginning of their careers in Australia are known for their positivity, motivation and great work ethic, and as such can be a great asset to your team.

Value in diversity

Cultural diversity is so important for any business – organisations that are culturally diverse are more profitable, as well as more innovative, and all employees of culturally diverse organisations are more engaged, and happier at work. International students can also bring particular diversity benefits including the ability to talk to your customers or clients in different languages, and an in-depth understanding of overseas markets and business cultures.

It’s free (legally)

As all business owners would know, it is very difficult to (legally) hire an unpaid intern.

However, when you engage an international student intern, they complete their intern placement (usually 12 week, full-time or part-time) as part of a course called Professional Year, So, it is perfectly legal to engage them in this manner, and one of the only legal ways to do so (vocational placement according to the Fair Work Act).

How can I obtain one?

Outcome.Life is proud to be able to provide businesses with talented and motivated international student interns.  Feel free to contact me at domenic@outcome.life  , reach out via LinkedIn, or give me a call on 0410 662 393 to find out more.

Outcome.Life is a visionary portal that helps to transform the lives of international students through education, connectivity, community, and much more.

Why hiring graduates isn’t a cost to small business

New graduates are stepping out of university and finding it harder than ever to gain employment.

They often turn to the graduate programs offered by large companies, where in some industries they take on hundreds of new recruits annually. For those that aren’t successful in these initiatives, or find themselves in an industry where programs like this don’t exit, it can be cause for concern.

These graduates are particularly reliant on small businesses to fill the gaps.

LinkedIn Insights shows that 80% of small businesses hire graduates but only 12% have formal graduate recruiting programs. These stats illustrate that most small-medium enterprises (SMEs) want to hire graduates but hardly any commit to it becoming a regular aspect of the business through a dedicated system.

The number of applicants far outweighs the number of graduate jobs today and small businesses should be taking advantage of this talent pool available to them. Small businesses in Australia employ around 2.5 million people and without them, the local economy would have difficulty functioning.

So why should small businesses take on a graduate?

It’s a cycle that needs support

As many university and TAFE courses today include a work integrated learning component, students are able to gain experience while studying. This type of work is usually in the form of an internship and is undertaken unpaid.

While some students look at it negatively as they don’t have the potential to earn money, it is somewhat necessary to reduce the cost that they may have on small businesses. Being able to take on a student without the need to pay a full wage makes small business much more inclined to participate as a host company.

It’s a cycle that needs to be supported by both businesses and students to work effectively.

The cost is on the decline

As students are now graduating with more experience than previously, it means that the cost of hiring someone straight out of university is getting lower.

Graduates now usually have some experience under their belts, so when they are getting paid in a graduate or entry-level position, there is less of a cost to businesses again as they can get into regular work quicker.

The learning curve that graduates have traditionally come with is no longer as steep. This is because they will require less time training for basics and will already have an idea of what working in the industry is like.

Host companies can use student internships to their advantage as a way to ‘try before they buy’. A 12-week internship, for instance, can be seen as an extended job interview where an ongoing position can be offered based on this.

Graduates shouldn’t be seen as a cost

Graduates are young and beaming and can bring something new to an office or workplace, as they have the most up-to-date knowledge and education compared to experienced workers.

Those from overseas can prove to be particularly valuable as they have a cultural and global awareness. Graduates can offer a fresh take on things and can adapt quicker as they aren’t used to being buried in bureaucracy.

The last thing that they should be classified as is merely an expense. The view that they may leave after having time invested in their learning shouldn’t be a deterrent as, if you offer them the right conditions, they won’t want to leave at all.

The value that the can add to a business is huge and is often overlooked since it can’t be quantified with a dollar value.

While graduates may not necessarily be able to bring in new business right away, they can offer the perspective that is needed to retain and enhance existing projects.

Why internships aren’t what they used to be

There are more people doing internships now than ever before and this increase didn’t happen overnight. However, it’s not only the increase in students undertaking internships that is noteworthy. It’s the nature of the internships themselves that are different from how they once were.

Back in the day, people only undertook internships, work placements or periods of unpaid work to find out more about an industry. Placements existed to help students gain a better understanding of work in a particular field and guide them in selecting the right subjects or courses to reach their career goals.

Take the Year 10 work experience program, for instance. In theory, it is designed to give students a taste of life at work and help them select the right subjects as they enter Years 11 and 12, to match their preferred career path.

In reality, it’s not like that for all students.

Here’s why internships aren’t the way they used to be.

Internships lead to employment

The kids in Year 10 who are only 15 or 16 years old are already feeling the brunt of how hard it is to find a job, which is why they are using their work experience opportunity to gain experience in an area where they could potentially find employment in the short term.

Many of these students are desperately seeking to undertake their internships at retail stores, with the hopes that they will be hired by the company in a more permanent capacity.

While this is the case at high school, students and graduates at all levels are looking to complete an internship with the intention of it leading to employment.

Graduate Careers Australia found that in 2015, 67.4% of bachelor degree graduates were employed four months after graduating. These statistics combine full-time and part-time work and do not take into account the number of students who are working in fields not related to their area of study.

Students and graduates at all levels of education are feeling the need to intern, as they see that it not only leads to a job, but a job they want.

Internships are no longer an option

Internships are often embedded in courses, even at tertiary level. Education providers are seeing the need to give students practical experience and have introduced compulsory requirements of courses that involve internships.

These courses do not give students the option to intern. Rather, it is mandatory.

As these internships are completed by students already locked into their preferred course, they are not designed to help them discover their desired area of study, but again have a focus on obtaining experience for future employment.

This is another reason why internships aren’t fulfilling the purpose they once were designed to achieve.

Experience is expected

Employers don’t want to hire someone with only the theoretical knowledge learnt at university or TAFE.

It’s now an expectation that work experience has been completed to complement studies. Some students even actively seek courses involving a working component, over courses that do not offer such a thing.

The existence of the Professional Year program for internationals is an example of this. Designed with work experience front and centre, the course aligns with the nature of internships today, and that is, that internships are a vital pathway to gaining permanent employment.

With a shift in the role that they play, internships are now more important than they have ever been, as they’re no longer just to get an insiders look into an industry, but rather a foot in the door.

Why startups and education providers should go hand in hand

Innovation and startups are set to be the future of the Australian, and possibly even global, employment landscape.

However, educational institutions place a greater  emphasis on students and graduates obtaining employment in established companies in favour of startups.

With reports stating that the concept of automation will see five million Aussie jobs gone in the next 10 to 15 year,  Australians should be thinking about their current skill set and the changing nature of the industry they are in to ensure ongoing employment..

           The alliance between  industry, including startups and educators, has never been more important.

Australia needs to maintain and advance upon our global ranking of 7th in the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Index.

Despite this seemingly high ranking, Australia still has a relatively low rate of startup formation for a developed nation.

Education providers need to be taking this into account in not only the types of courses they offer, but also the components taught in existing courses, including more emphasis on startups.

Greater emphasis on startups in courses

Universities usually encourage their graduates to find employment at large, multi-national companies, as these are traditionally seen as employers of choice

However, there should be a push for graduates to think about joining startups and/or starting their own business from early on, ideally when they are still students and generally don’t bare financial and family responsibilities .

While financial limitations will hamper young students’ ability to start their own businesses, it should be ingrained into them that the goal is attainable, even if at a time in the future.

This can be taught in courses and experienced by partnering with the University’s local startup ecosystem; making students feel that they are equipped to commence a business of their own.

Teaching a diverse skill set of entrepreneurial skills, as well as promoting an entrepreneurial mindset,will provide immense benefits for those looking at launching their own startup and putting their ideas into action.

The right working spaces

There is a growing number of co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and small businesses, but not many are aligned with universities, nor designed with students in mind.

Co-working spaces are becoming more niche.  For instance, our Outcome-Hub in Melbourne is a co-working space designed specifically for international graduates to start their own businesses in Australia, rather than in their home country.

Universities are places where this type of co-working should commence. Regular ‘libraries’ are suited to study and research but a greater emphasis needs to be placed on the concept of co-working and the development of business at educational institutions.

Universities should create and promote dedicated spaces open to students at all levels and from all faculties to foster an entrepreneurial environment. This could have dedicated mentors available to allow for greater discussion and implementation of ideas between students.

Interns at startups

Internship opportunities at startups should be pushed so that students can see first-hand how new startup business operate.

Instead, Universities generally encourage their students to take intern roles, as part of courses, at established, long-standing companies where they become a small cog in a very large machine

While this type of experience is also important, students should be given the chance to apply their skills and knowledge in startups where, typically, they are given a greater range of roles and responsibilities.

Interns at startups can also make a greater impact on the business, especially in its infancy. Being resource poor, student interns are encouraged to do more, and think outside the box, something the Universities say they teach, but rarely implement outside the classroom.  The experience in startups for interns is real, rather than observational as it often is at major firms.

If we agree that innovation and startups are set to be the future of the Australian employment, Universities need to incorporate entrepreneurial thinking and experience into their courses.  After all, grass level learnings are always a better way to ingrain important concepts in people’s minds.