Strukton sorely needs young people for the future
25 November 2021
Scope, Strukton’s young professionals network, is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary. A great opportunity to question Strukton’s directors about the value of young professionals for the organisation. Four Scope members were given this opportunity.
‘Fifty years? If it were up to me, this would drop dramatically,’ says Richard Majoor, Director International Projects at Strukton Civiel. He is discussing the average age of Strukton employees with Scope members Annelotte Feijth and Dwayne Ansah. ‘We have to treat the young generation in Strukton with due care. Young professionals are essential to the company. They are energetic and critical, and think and learn differently. Their learning curve is tremendously steep: they have just graduated and learn a phenomenal amount in the following three to four years. We have to nourish this. If we don’t do this, they will look for another employer.’
Tjark de Vries, Managing Director Strukton Rail Nederland, in his meeting with Scope members Danny van den Burg and Daisy de Pater also emphasises the key value of young professionals. ‘If, as company, we want to improve, we must listen to young professionals. For digitalisation, for example. With all due respect, this is not something you’ll want to discuss with people my age. You’re in the wrong department in that case.’
Strukton is very much inclined to recruit and retain young professionals, say both directors. De Vries: ‘This will be a much discussed topic over the coming years: how do we retain you, the young professionals, in our organisation? Not only young people with an office function, but people in the field as well, the technicians. We have to offer them an interesting package of terms and conditions of employment, as well as an interesting position. Many young professionals consider contributing ideas about the future of the company important.’ But both directors also say this works both ways: young professionals must also actively approach their manager to make their wishes known. Majoor: ‘There is nothing more demotivating than when a company hires someone new for a position senior to yours, even more so when you know this person and work together with him/her. So when you think: I am also capable of doing this job, or almost, discuss it with your manager and identify what you need to be able to do that job.’
The young generation feels quite a bit more empowered in the workplace than the older generation. But this can be a pitfall, Majoor warns. ‘You have to be patient before opportunities come along, you will not immediately receive every opportunity the next day. You have to grow within an organisation, you have to earn your stripes. Look around you to see where you can learn more.’ De Vries adds: ‘Changing yourself does not just go by itself. If you are convinced that you are doing the right things, you must persevere. Yes, things will get stormy from time to time and not everything will always go steadily upwards. But even when there is a storm, you must stick it out.’
More about Scope
Scope was created for young professionals in Strukton in the Netherlands. Networking, developing and discovering are key.