Next generation leadership in the fourth industrial revolution

Everybody struggles to find their professional footing, to gain personal and financial independence and to fulfill their desire to establish a career and a life for themselves. For millennials entering the workforce, these seem even more unattainable and this generation is having an especially difficult time getting started.

Let me paint the picture for you (and, I’ll spare you the emojis).

Millennials are ambitiously establishing their careers, while also trying to pay off punishing levels of student debt. This debt  creates more of a hurdle as millennials are facing decreasing real wage growth – all while helping to support households. The Daily Mail recently reported that millennials earn 20% less than baby boomers did at the same stage of life. They also stay at home longer, because they simply can’t afford to buy a house and move out. This is their reality.

Google. iOS. Zuckerberg. Millennials are more tech savvy than previous generations and this gives them the ability to utilise these technological advancements to work more efficiently. Millennials are also better at adapting in the ever-evolving workplace, which is continually shaped by new technologies. All of this sees millennials entering the workplace with a mind-set not seen before.

Such as with the profound developments in technology, so different generations have their own ways of working, their own mindsets and their own strengths and weaknesses. For millennials, finding where they fit in the multi-generational work force will be yet another challenge. But, with the fourth industrial revolution upon us – perhaps millennials will be best equipped and prepared to guide organisations through this new age.

So exactly how will millennials lead the fourth industrial revolution?

Dynamic Thinkers

‘Complacency is the kiss of death’ and companies will be forced to reinvent and adapt at a much faster than previously experienced. Millennials have seen the evolution of bulky Sony Walkman to pocket sized iPods. They intrinsically understand what it means to live in a world changing faster than most realise, which is also showing no signs of slowing down. As leaders, millennials are primed to sense and respond quickly to marketplace and technological shifts, and this will enable companies to consistently deliver results in these ambiguous and volatile times.

Problem Solvers

2008 saw Lehman Brothers file for bankruptcy, and the world has struggled to recover from this since. With this shock, many millennials started passion projects, stepped into the realm of entrepreneurship and crowd-funded ventures knowing it would offer more options in these uncertain times. Millennials have become more resourceful and creative through these experiences and provide a fresh problem solving perspective to organisations or initiatives. Future business problems will be solved using the innovative solutions of millennials.

Diversity Driven

Our world is connected now more than any known time in human history. Championing the fourth industrial revolution with individuals from differing backgrounds will be crucial for continued momentum. Millennials are a culturally diverse generation, and the strength of the millennial generation will come from their desire to collaborate and to learn from one another.


This next generation of leaders brings about a shift in perspective with the ability to shape and lead the workforce of the future in exciting new ways. The fourth industrial revolution will bring about waves of disruption and will forever change the business landscapes that we’ve come to know.

Wouldn’t you want an inclusive minded, dynamic problem solver millennial leading this next frontier?


Written by Inga Davids, Consultant at Saratoga. For more insights from Inga follow her on Twitter, @inga_davids  and Saratoga at @SaratogaSA