The Smartphone has taken over Nigerian millennials and practically made them ill-equipped to handle a PC.
– By Frank Eleanya
Every research on millennials has one insight or the other about how they will transform or disrupt the workplace. They are also the butt of many stereotypes including selfish, demanding, entitled and overly addicted to technology.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report predicted that by 2020, almost half of the workforce will be made up of millennials. The stereotypes therefore give a picture of what the future workplace will look like.
As companies around the world begin the process of transforming their workplace to accommodate the millennial generation, here in Nigeria the transformations are not happening very fast. For instance, while most companies abroad are doing away with desks and replacing wood panels with colourful sofas and glass doors, it hasn’t caught on here, only a handful have thought it necessary in Nigeria. What may be increasing are organisations replacing desktops computers with laptops.
Without a doubt, companies’ adoption of technology and everything digital is increasing in the country. The mobile whirlwind that is sweeping across the country is also impacting many of these companies as they devise digital strategies to push their products. However, whereas laptop and PC rate may be declining as more individuals go mobile, organisations are not doing away with the older technologies any moment. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently revealed that Nigeria currently has 4.5 percent computer penetration, a decline when compared with 11 percent in 2016 and an 84 percent mobile phone penetration as at March 2018.
While the odds may favour a mobile phone culture in the workplace, companies – at least those in Nigeria – are still considerably dependent on the laptops to carry out their operations. Hence, millennials joining these organisations will be setting themselves up for a fall expecting the work tools to be different when it concerns them.
Two years working as online content manager has been an eye opener for this writer. Usually the company recruits interns to supplement the online desk. Nearly 80 percent of the young adults between the ages of 18 to 26 that have been assigned to the unit had problems using a computer. The problems range from using one finger to type on the keyboard, to not being able to identify computer icons, and not knowing how to browse with a laptop.
Their mobile phone skills, however, were not in question as they were often found using them during office hours.
Interestingly, millennials in other countries maintain a healthy balance between their mobile phones and PCs. A survey conducted for Pew Research Center found that 30 percent of people ages 18 to 35 said they could not live without their laptops and 34 percent identified their mobile phone as the technology they could not live without.
That Nigerian employers do not hand out mobile phones to new recruits is a reality that many millennials learn very late. In nearly 99 percent of organisations, you are started off with either a laptop or a desktop computer. Thus, there is a need for a healthy balance between addiction for Smartphones and learning to use a either a laptop or desktop computer.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.