Afrillennials™: SA’S Future LeadersIn Afrillennial, Research
There is currently a huge amount of tension in the workplace between Afrillennials™ and prior generations. Integrating Afrillennials™ into the work environment should be a priority, as this group will be making up the majority of the labour force in the not so distant future.
Afrillennials™ are extremely risk averse when making big decisions. When asked what they look for in prospective employers, the study found that they look at the company’s reputation first and then narrow their sights on a defined career path. They seek rapid career growth and development, the best technology, perks, benefits and work-life balance. Ronen Aires, CEO of Student Village added that it is important to consider their views in order to appeal to the right Afrillennial™ from the flood of talent looking for job opportunities.
“Afrillennials™ choose to work at companies that best project their own hopes & dreams. They favour companies that are big, global operators with a good reputation in business, as well as the community.”
Though it may be argued that Afrillennial™ demands are equal to millennials universally, the study defined a few key ‘Afrillennialisms’ that affect their personal and working lives, which included:
- ◦ Ubuntu Tax – Afrillennials™ feel indebted to their families and that they have a responsibility to help them and give back. The reality that their money is not all theirs, creates a distressing feeling that their dreams of financial independence have been delayed.
- ◦ Education value changed – There was a shift from “education empowers the mind” to “education empowers the wallet”. Afrillennials™ also see the value of obtaining the right degree that could lead to a high paying job and enable their dreams.
- ◦ Cultural diversity – This is the first generation in SA to be born politically ‘baggage free’. They are generally embracing of other cultures and are best positioned to create cultural harmony in the workplace. However, given the transformation agenda of most companies in SA, this generation feel they have to work harder to prove their value.
- ◦ International lust – They have a strong desire for international travel due to the badge value it holds. They also want international exposure in order to be of better value in the workplace upon their return to SA. The fact that they were raised in a multicultural environment makes it easier for them to adapt to other cultures, globally.
- ◦ Technologically wired – Afrillennials embrace technological change and innovation in the workplace. Technology will thus be a great driving force behind creating the flexible work environment that Afrillennials desire, and they are best positioned to see this change through as they’ve been raised in a technology era. Afrillennials™ can teach companies how to make technology and social media effective communication tools in the workplace.
According to Aires, “Afrillennials™ are global citizens with a strong connection to home. They would love to spend time traveling & working overseas. It is however important to note that most of them want to return home to their families and South Africa within 2 years on average.”
SA’s economy and businesses face many issues, ranging from BEE to scarce skills and consumer debt. Though Afrillennials are not adversely affected by these realities, they are aligned to being part of the solution and solve such problems in future. They are ambitious and looking for opportunities to grow, so that they are not only integrated into the workplace, but also become integral to the new way of doing business.
The emerging challenge of an Afrillennial™ dominated workforce is achieving mutual understanding and deriving benefit from having various generations in the work place. Previous generations in the workplace need to play their part in bridging the gap as soon as possible in order to reduce tension and ensure sustainable success in the business environment. They can accommodate, teach and reintroduce old values that are being lost in the transition, including patience, face-to-face relationships and dealing with conflict.
The research, which was completed across three main metro regions in South Africa with the help of Amoeba Insights and JAG Method, was both quantitative and qualitative with a student survey sample of 1275, as well as additional employers and industry specialists.
“Afrillennials™ are a complex bunch. Business leaders could choose to convert them to the old paradigm of thinking or meet them half way by harnessing the uniqueness that they bring to the workplace. Given their unique energy, creativity and innovative approach, they are best positioned to deal with the complex challenges that businesses in South Africa face,” Aires concluded.
If you would like to find out more about the first Afrillennial™ research study or book an Afrillennial™ talk by Ronen Aires, CEO of Student Village, contact us on or email .