Top students in established economies have been overtaken by those in the “emerging markets” when it comes to using some new technologies, according to the “Digital Generation” survey. The survey was created by Career Innovation in partnership with AIESEC International, the world’s largest student-run organization.
“If they use these technologies effectively, they’ll be the leaders who build tomorrow’s most successful organizations,” said Jonathan Winter of Career Innovation. “Future success is more likely to be defined by people’s ability to collaborate across boundaries of culture and hierarchy.”
Technology highlights include:
- Three-quarters of Asian students (excluding India) have written their own blog.
- In Latin America, 71 percent use webcams to connect with friends and family by video.
- Facebook is the leading social network brand, followed by Orkut, Hi5 and MySpace.
- Skype is the top choice for Internet phone calls, Nokia the hardware of choice for mobile email; and Google Docs is leading the way for online creation and sharing of documents.
- 63 percent of students use simulation and gaming technologies socially, and 17 percent use them for learning purposes.
Students in established economies such as the U.S., Western Europe and Australia are also avid users of technology, but report fewer work benefits; and they are much lower users of certain technologies such as podcasts and mobile e-mail, according to the survey.
Overall, the worldwide picture is of a generation that is permanently “wired.” With little variation by region, 93 percent said they have a mobile phone and keep it switched on so they can be contacted.
“A global digital generation of young leaders is emerging, who will enter the workplace expecting to communicate using social media,” said Lucy Symons, chief communication and networks officer for AIESEC International. “The survey results represent an exciting opportunity for organizations to work together with tomorrow’s global opinion leaders in their roles as workers, clients and donors.”
While acknowledging the potential for abuse and time-wasting, today’s students are passionate advocates for the benefits.
The “Digital Generation” survey also surveyed workers to begin tracking the take-up of technologies within the workplace, and the generation gaps between workers and students. Nearly two-thirds of students and more than half of workers take part in publishing activities (such as contributing to a Wiki) for social purposes. A quarter of workers are also “publishing” as part of their work, signaling the rise of user-generated content and a shift away from one-way corporate communications.
The online global survey took place between January and June 2008, and attracted 2,277 responses from students in 114 countries, and a comparison sample of 530 more workers (65 percent below the age of 30) in 83 countries. This data was combined with findings from focus groups during 2007. The sample included AIESEC members and others who were invited directly by AIESEC members, Career Innovation or the survey sponsors.