How a Global, Youth-Run Organization is Shaping Professional Perspectives

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With half of the world’s population under the age of 30, understanding Gen Y and learning how to integrate them into organizations has become an important organizational objective. Deloitte’s 2013 Productivity Report demonstrates Canada’s growing productivity gap and suggests that to close it, the “perception gap” must first be filled. This productivity gap is attributable to companies’ reluctance towards risk-taking and a sense of limitation by company and industry size; this is what had led Canadian companies to underinvest.

To demonstrate how AIESEC shapes professional perspectives, the organization conducted the Canada Youth Voice Survey 2014, in collaboration with Leger Marketing, collecting over 1000 responses. The survey displays the behavioural data of youth in university, both in AIESEC and not, showcasing the difference AIESEC makes on leadership development.

In AIESEC, young people are immediately immersed in a culture of learning and growth, where they can gain practical experience and develop soft skills. Gordon Ching, AIESEC Canada’s 21-year old National Vice President, Marketing & Communications, reassures that, “Our unique business model enables our student volunteers to gain competitive and in-demand skills while they are in university by running the operations of AIESEC’s business at their schools.”

Alumni of AIESEC’s programs first differentiate themselves from non-AIESEC students in their priorities when searching for jobs. By placing greater emphasis on the reputation of the organization and on corporate responsibility, a member of AIESEC proactively looks for organizations that fit with their ideals, rather than how can they fit within the companies’. To illustrate this, more AIESEC leaders (43.3%) have a stronger sense in joining the corporate responsibility industry as opposed to non-AIESEC students, where only 28.4% are interested.

Opportunity for impact also ranks high among AIESEC leaders’ preferences in working culture. Of those surveyed who believed societal impact was important, 74.8% were from AIESEC. Instead of providing Millennials more traditional roles and working cultures, the survey shows that offering people opportunities to learn and make an impact in their work is valued much more.

The innovative and risk-taking mindset of AIESEC youth is also demonstrated in this survey, as 73.7% of them have implemented a new strategy in a club or organization, while only 57.5% of non-AIESEC students have. The former demonstrates a willingness to innovate and take risks for greater results and efficiency. Gordon Ching, who has since moved on to become AIESEC’s Global VP of Digital Marketing, encourages students: “AIESEC is the perfect place for an aspiring youth leader to find their place in the world, understand global realities, and demonstrate that they are ahead of the curve.”

Gordon’s story conveys how getting involved with AIESEC fundamentally changes a student’s perspective on the world – long before graduation day. “I started as a volunteer with AIESEC while I was a human geography student at Simon Fraser University and, within three years, I am now leading the international marketing operations of a global company. Our impact reaches the lives of over one hundred thousand youth leaders and thousands of businesses every year.” Gordon’s success comes from the same platform that thousands of other leaders have experienced over the past 50 years, and you could be next.

Contributed by:

Claire-Marine Varin & Katrina Sekhon, AIESEC
www.AIESEC.org
Photos courtesy of AIESEC

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