The just concluded Social Media Week Lagos, #SMWLagos, was the third edition of the world renowned event to be hosted in Lagos. Though the event has come and gone, its impact on the Nigerian business community would remain for a while, at least till the next edition.

Each day of the week-long event was jam-packed with events ranging from governance, mobile technology, career, community engagement to style and music.

I was a panelist in one of the #SMWLagos event tagged the ‘Upwardly Mobile African Professionals,’ organised by Career Solutions Africa. I would love to share some of the key takeaways of the session.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a ‘Yuppie’ (young urban professional or young upwardly-mobile professional) is defined as a young college-educated adult who has a job that pays a lot of money and who lives and works in or near a large city.

Today, African professionals can be said to be upwardly mobile: we have access to higher salaries, better social circles, more luxurious and higher status goods and services than the generation before us did. This social and economic shift is, in part, due to technological advancement and the penetration of social media.

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Over the last few years, every Professional has talked about how social media and technology has transformed and is continually transforming the landscape of work. Technology, social networks, collaboration tools, globalization, social trends, demographic changes and lots more has affected the world of work.

Social media and technology have quickly evolved into a means for knowledge transfer, professional connection and also provides employment opportunities amongst other things. The emergence of mobile phones, especially in Africa and other parts of the developing world also opened up an entirely new world of possibilities for the young professionals.

The #SMWYUPPIE panelists were carefully selected across sectors, works of life and generations and they were able to analyze the changes in the work place and how much of these were driven by changes in technology and penetration of social media.

Some of the key lessons the panelists at the #SMWYUPPIE session were able to offer to the attendees at the event are highlighted below:

Yuppies can use Social Media Tools as a Personal Branding Tool:

Yuppies need to realize that they can actually use social media tools to build a competitive personal brand, as getting a job in this social media era require online visibility – personal branding. Personal branding is one of the best ways to advance in your career. We live in a brand new world of perception! You decide what others and most especially “what Google would say about you”. How you are perceived as an individual goes to affect your career as well as the type of job you get. In order to communicate the right personal brand message to others, you have to consciously decide what that message is going to be. Would you like to be seen as a professional in your field of interest or an amateur? You decide…

Yuppies can use Social Media Tools to develop strong beneficial professional networks with other professionals and prospective employers:

The employment landscape has significantly changed by the advent of growing technology and in recent times by the advent social media. Yuppies need to embrace the job hunting side of social media and learn how to harness them to their benefit. A good place to start is for Yuppies to know that each social network has its purpose for creation and they must understand each social network in order to use it as a job search advantage. For example, it is expected of Yuppies to be on LinkedIn, because LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network where experts in their field of endeavor are found. If you are a YUPPIE and you want to be known for what you are good at – you need a LinkedIn profile today.

Employers should embrace Social Media Tools in their initiatives to effectively attract and retain talent among the Yuppie generation:

Most of the Yuppie generation is on the cutting edge of technology and social media, hence for any employer to effectively attract and retain them; traditional methods would not suffice in their talent acquisition initiatives; web 2.0 – social media tools is the way to go! We are in an age where employers are not limited to a ‘local pool of talent’ but they can reach a ‘global pool of talent’ in an effective and efficient way simply by the adoption of social media in their talent attraction strategy. These would in no small way help build a talent pipeline for deployment at the shortest time.

Employers should change work processes and organization structures to accommodate the Yuppie generation:

Yuppie generation has a certain type of work process and organizational structure that brings out the best in them. As a result, employers are advised to make the workplace more fun and engaging for the Yuppies. Also, they should adopt a flattened organization structure, be execution focused than on job hierarchy, empower the Yuppies more and give them responsibility to keep them empowered.

In closing, the Upwardly Mobile African Professional – Yuppies has massive opportunities in this ‘new age’ of technological and social media ‘boom’. If they hope to stand-out in this ‘new age’, then they need to get on the cutting edge of these new trends and use them to their advantage. Also, employers of the Yuppies need to learn from the Yuppie generation and use these lessons to their benefit as well.

N:B: This article first appeared in the iPunch Column of The Punch Newspaper which was published on Friday, March 13, 2015 both online and in print.

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