All of us have turned to our parents for support at some point in our lives, but how many of us regularly look to them for career advice? According to recent LinkedIn research, one in three parents has no idea what their child does at work, which might go some way to explain why their advice isn’t always forthcoming.
Almost half (43 per cent) of us believe that our parents have useful professional advice to share, but more than a third of parents fail to pass it on. Typically, they admit to being held back by a lack of understanding about their child’s job, concerns that their advice is no longer valid in today’s workplace, or an assumption that their offspring will simply ignore it.
Bring In Your Parents Day 2014, which takes place on 6 November, is designed to bridge this gap. It will see businesses across the UK throw open their doors to employees’ mums and dads, showcasing the benefits of turning to our parents for guidance and support.
MUCH TO LEARN
This improved connection could benefit the UK as a whole. We have one of the most highly skilled workforces in the world, but one of the lowest levels of employment among the over-50s. Bring In Your Parents Day is an opportunity to inspire people to participate in the labour market for longer.
This has to happen. In the next 10 years, there will be 700,000 fewer people aged 16 to 49 in the UK labour market, but 3.7m more aged between 50 and the state pension age. By helping people re-engage with the world of work, we can not only say “thank you” to our parents for supporting us in our careers, we can also help to inspire people to look again at career opportunities, and to share their skills and experience more widely. From the results of our survey, we can reveal the skills most parents think their offspring could learn from them:
Nearly half of the parents we surveyed thought that improved problem solving skills would help their child be better at their job. Our natural reaction to mistakes or challenging career episodes is often to hide them, but highlighting that you have overcome such situations is a great way to demonstrate that you can adapt and learn.
TREAT ORGANISATION AS A STRATEGY
Our research shows that 42 per cent of parents believe their children could benefit from improved organisational skills. Our ability to keep our working life well-ordered has a dramatic impact on professional performance. And for most of us, it’s a skill we learn over time.
KEEP IT REAL
A significant number of parents list “integrity” as a fundamental attribute for career success. Employ a maxim of transparency when dealing with colleagues and potential employers, whether it’s in the office or on your LinkedIn profile
BE SMART WITH YOUR TIME
We’re all seeking the perfect work-life balance. Unfortunately, it can be as elusive as it is attractive. Identify activities that provide maximum return on investment: calling colleagues, rather than emailing, helps build relationships and get the job done, and can be more efficient.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED
Of the parents we spoke to, over a third wanted to give their child the strength to “never give up.” Tenacity in pursuing a promotion or career change pays dividends. Using LinkedIn to identify others in your “dream job” and map out how they got there can be a great springboard.
Despite the complexity of today’s career landscape, one of the richest sources of professional guidance, inspiration and wisdom may be closer to home than you think.
Ariel Eckstein is managing director of LinkedIn Europe, Middle East and Africa. More information on Bring In your Parents Day (6 November) can be found at: bringinyourparents.linkedin.com
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