Titled Social Media is Now Serious Business for Young Europeans, the report finds that for the generation of young Europeans that have grown up immersed in digital technology, social media is far more than just a source of entertainment. By democratising the way in which we communicate, discover information and share ideas, social media has helped to shape and empower this generation of young people, creating a new breed of employees and citizens across Europe: Generation Direct.
This generation is bypassing traditional channels and using social media very proactively to search for jobs, upgrade their skills, seek funding for their enterprises, create growth for their businesses or lobby their governments for change. The study found that social media has helped:
- 46 per cent of young people to find jobs
- 7 out of 10 young entrepreneurs to find investors
- 88 per cent of students to connect with their peers to discuss courseware
- 50 per cent young people to campaign for change through online petitions
These trends are helping drive Europe’s digital economy forward. The European Commission measures the progress of the region’s digital economy through a composite index called DESI (Digital Economy & Society Index) which is built on 5 pillars: Connectivity, Human Capital, Use of the Internet, Integration of Digital Technology and Digital Public Services. The European Union’s score (EU28) has increased from 0.46 in 2014 to 0.52 in 2016 on this index, led by increased digitization of businesses and online commerce.
N Chandrasekaran, CEO and Managing Director of TCS said: “Through this survey we are looking to ensure that the voice of Europe’s young people is being heard by the European decision-makers who affect them – be it business boardrooms, parliaments or academic committees. The survey concludes quite compellingly that Social Media is playing a crucial enablement role in strengthening the careers of Europe’s 90 million young people and helping drive its economy. Europe’s political and business leaders must take all steps to ensure that they embrace digital technologies to better engage with and enable their youth. The entrepreneurial energy of this generation has a huge potential economic upside for employers, businesses and governments; if they are willing to embrace it.”
Shankar Narayanan, Country Head, TCS UK & Ireland commented: “This generation of young people instinctively see the world through a social filter; whether they are looking to find a job, raise funding for a business or engage with political issues. For instance, 62 percent of young Britons have signed a petition via social media but just 43 percent of 18-24 year olds voted in the 2015 General Election. This typifies the way in which established institutions and brands are still at times struggling to engage with Generation Direct. Businesses, employers and governments need to understand what this new generation means for their organisation and adapt accordingly by placing a greater emphasis on responsiveness, flexibility and peer-to-peer collaboration.”