Growth in changing times, not really the utopia for thousands of youth

The new world order is in existence. A lot of young people are held back from greatness by limitations and ceilings that they have set for themselves. Thus, they are constrained from reaching their full potential. They believe that there is no space for being value-driven leaders and entrepreneurs in the modern world. Accordingly, they rely on shortcuts to make them ‘successful leaders’ and ‘rich entrepreneurs’ in the shortest time possible. For them, “the end justifies the means”. Failure to recognize the need for personal growth and development in the changing times could be the leading cause of their frustrations. The Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t made it easier either.

Various changes have occurred over the last years, and technology has been critical to these changes. The changing times in contemporary society have been significantly associated with technology marked with heavy use of digital channels, remote working, and the emergence of the 4th Industrial generation. Statistics show that as of January 2021, 4.66 billion people worldwide were using the internet, accounting for approximately 59.5% of the global population.

The internet is vital in contemporary society, and the changing world requires that we too change our thinking and our way of doing things. Did you know that today, if your business, company, or organization doesn’t show up on Google, it is considered non-existent? Search engine optimization is the very basis of inbound marketing, and smart businesses are always striving to be on the top of the heap; thus, appearing on the first page of the relevant keyword searches related to the product or services. The aim? To convert website visits to customers.

Technology has no class, boundary, religion, or status. It cuts across everywhere from educated to uneducated, from lower to higher classes, from religious to non-religious. For this reason, the days of fighting technology are over; as human beings are now more connected technologically than they have ever before.

In this Covid-19 era, only the agile will survive  

Most importantly, technology has influenced dynamism in business. Businesses are now characterized by high levels of global competition, technological sophistication, and changing preferences of customers tastes. Deloitte has established that customers have become dynamic, and the dynamism has erupted from technology. Notably, Covid-19 has increased the recognition of technology and customer dynamics. Hence, more customers have been encouraged to use technology, even more, to access products and services online, which they would otherwise be restricted to access as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions. Consequently, highly dynamic, innovative, and creative employees are needed for adaptability to technology advancements and business dynamics. Young people have to recognize these changing times; hence they need to match the changes by advancing their skills. A key driver to the advancement is considering personal growth and development to exploit the limited and competitive opportunities.

One of the unfortunate resultants of the pandemic has been loss of jobs, both formal and informal. The aftermath has been that those who take chances have ventured into other sectors that have remained afloat; including the Jua Kali industry. With a pandemic that leaves a wake of unemployment in its trail, we have all learned to adapt to the changing environment and take up available opportunities until things get better. In this era, only the agile are bound to survive.

However, challenges still abound. Accessibility to financing, for instance, still remains a major hurdle, especially for the MSMEs. There’s also the lack of a decent work environment and infrastructure in the informal sector. It is, therefore, crucial that both the government as well as private investors set aside resources for sectors that have absorbed lost jobs, as part of the Covid-19 sustainable recovery process. This will ensure sustained livelihoods; where growth otherwise, is not really the utopia for thousands of youth affected by the obstinate pandemic.

The Author, Dr. Ehud Gachugu, is the Director of Ajira Digital and Youth Employment Program at the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA)