For many people, a stable job means so much more than just a regular paycheck. For millions of unemployed people all over the world, a job can restore a sense of pride and confidence that comes with the ability to support oneself and loved ones.
In 2012, a McKinsey research study looked at a global and seemingly intractable problem: why were so many young people unemployed, even as many businesses struggled to fill job vacancies? That research inspired McKinsey to found Generation, an independent nonprofit organization focused on tackling the most persistent barriers to young people searching for stable employment. This November, Generation is celebrating its fifth birthday.
Generation aims to transform how everyone in the education-to-employment equation approaches the goal of employment success, from students to employers to practitioners and policy makers.
In just five short years, the organization has grown exponentially. Today, Generation has graduated over 30,000 people from its programs, employs over 300 people, and is operating in 13 countries, ranging from Brazil to India to Australia.
The majority of Generation graduates leave the program with job offers in hand. Eighty-one percent are employed at three months post-graduation and at salaries two to six times higher than their previous earnings. At the one-year mark, close to 70 percent continue to be employed.
For example, Generation is training and placing insurance-sales representatives in Kenya, web programmers in Spain, and healthcare assistants in India. And 83 percent of employers say they would hire a Generation graduate again.
About McKinsey and Generation
Generation is McKinsey’s most ambitious social-responsibility commitment to transform people’s lives and communities through the power of stable, meaningful work. McKinsey not only served as a founding partner; we also worked side by side with the initial Generation team to set up in-country operations and help design programs that bridged the needs of participants and their future employers.
Today, we continue to be one of Generation’s more than 70 funders and share our most valuable resource of all—our people. Our leaders make introductions to help Generation find the entry points to successfully launch employment programs. Our consultants serve in donated fellowships; 300+ McKinsey colleagues have contributed to Generation in a meaningful way over the past five years, with our firm providing ongoing funding and in-kind services.
Christian Lilley, a McKinsey expert associate partner, worked with Generation to build its digital team from the ground up. “There were three people on the team when I came on board to help, and the organization had enormous digital needs, like building recruiting platforms that had to function in multiple languages,” he said in a recent interview. “I saw the digital team grow to over twenty people, and I was able to facilitate that type of growth because of what I had already done at McKinsey.”
Gabriela Paranhos, an engagement manager, helped the Generation team launch in Brazil. “I care very deeply about the problem of unemployment here,” says Gabriela. “During the start-up phase of the program, we worked diligently to find out which employers had actual vacancies and how to design a program that would work for the businesses and the learners in the program.”
“My favorite memory,” Gabriela adds, “is when I met one of the graduates at his first job fair. He was excited at all of the interest he was getting from employers, and he just threw his arms around me and gave me a big hug.”
Generation is growing existing programs, moving into new regions, and expanding its learner population to include people in need of job reskilling for industries new to them. The new initiative for mid-career learners is called ReGeneration, with pilot programs running in the Singapore, Spain, and the United States.
You can view the stories of Generation graduates and how their lives have been transformed on Generation’s website and especially in this video compilation of graduates and their stories.