Generation Unicorn

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There is a theory going around. It starts with employment, (or unemployment), and may end with the rise of youth enterprise. It’s called the Unicorn Theory, but, before you start imagining glitter and rainbows, I should explain…

A friend of mine works in user experience. She recently completed three internships in a row – no easy task when jobs aren’t promised at the end of them. Wanting to get a job, she asked one of her managers what she needed to improve so as to get where she wanted to be. That was when her manager sat her down and explained what he called the Unicorn Theory.

The Unicorn Theory suggests that young people today need to be good at a wide variety of tasks, not only what they specialise in. For example, sticking with the example of user experience, primarily, you need to be good at that, but you also need to be a good designer (digitally and on paper), have an awareness of digital media platforms and social media, and know your way around app development (or at least have a basic knowledge of it). This is the job market that young people are being faced with, and as the economy recovers, it is no wonder that businesses are doing all they can to retain those people who they know to be highly skilled at a variety of things.

It can be argued that this need for a single person to have a variety of skills has lead to the rise of the social enterprises being run by young people. Arthur Kay in a recent interview with the Guardian said that Generation Y “has a holistic outlook on the world” they view “a job not just as a means to pay the rent, rather a route to exploring their passions, hobbies and philosophies.” So, once they realise that they are capable of a wide variety of things, they decide that they don’t want to go down traditional routes. Instead, they begin to develop the skills needed to develop something themselves.

Youth unemployment may still be higher than unemployment amongst over 30year olds, but they are not a lost generation. They are developing a variety of skills, and are the generation most likely to produce the most jobs. If Generation Y are to succeed, they are to become a generation of unicorns, and when were unicorns a bad thing?

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