Is it time for CXOs to ‘get real’?

Logicalis recently launched the results of the 2013 Realtime Generation Survey (RTG), which looks at the digital footprint of today’s 13-17 year olds and captures their opinions on the digital future of the UK. Gerry Carroll asks if CXOs are prepared for the next wave of digital natives.

The recent publication of the Realtime Generation Survey results produced some interesting and in some cases surprising results.

For instance, although Realtimers are apparently not pursuing Science, Technology and Maths (STEM) subjects to the extent that the UK Government would like, highlighted in their response to a House of Lords Committee last year[1], the survey reveals that 13 to 17 year olds consider these subjects, along with English, as being the top choices required to secure their desired career.  The top career choices for UK teens are Science & Research, Teaching & Education, Healthcare and IT & Technology.

It’s important then that the government, along with our educators and employers ensure that this interest is sustained and nurtured.  But it is just as important that creativity is not stifled; as my colleague Chris Gabriel has pointed out, having hordes of competent digital natives is not in its self going to grow our economy - this will come from the ability to imaginatively apply that knowledge to solve real world problems.

It’s not surprising that teenagers have access to numerous digital devices, but I was surprised that the average Realtimer owns six digital devices, with 84% owning a smartphone.  They also have access to 192GB of storage and two thirds are creating and actively sharing videos online. Which begs the question ‘what on earth do you get them for Christmas?’

Also surprisingly, and possibly reassuringly, 46% of those surveyed selected Bill Gates as a top role model over leading figures from business, sport, IT, literature and TV, perhaps scotching the myth that teens are only impressed with celebrity and great wealth - particularly given the relatively low public media exposure Gates has over say Alan Sugar, Mark Zuckerberg, David Beckham, JK Rowling or Simon Cowell.

In the future, 40% plan to work remotely, so it is not surprising that they rate High Speed Broadband more important than High Speed Railway.  Perhaps ominously for CXOs 75% expect UK plc to update devices and technologies to support their IT habits and needs at work.

CXOs therefore need to ensure that they are prepared to get the most out of these tech savvy and commercially aware potential employees when they enter the workplace.  Not least because 89% will expect their future employees to fund the digital devices needed for work and 51% will expect to be able to choose the device they use – Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) may only have raised its head as serious concept in the past three months, but not having a name for it doesn’t stop Realtimers wanting it.

CXOs also need to understand that the Realtime Generation is expecting to use the technologies and devices that they are familiar with, throughout their education and into their careers. A student body or workforce that uses its digital know-how to improve performance or increase productivity is a highly attractive proposition.

So if your organisation still lacks a mobility strategy, is still running browsers that cannot handle HTML 5 or takes a defensive approach to user access, it’s probably time to ‘get real’!

Download the full Realtime Generation Report here.

Real Time Generation 2013 infographic


Tags digital adventurer, Business Intelligence, IT trends, digital natives, IT Trends, IT Staffing, Business Strategy