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Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle


The Young Future Busines Leader: An Endangered Species? part 2 of 2


Are the universities taking a proactive role in identifying what the island’s companies need and grooming their students to be the answers to that need? Are they going out there and soliciting relationships and identifying opportunities within companies that perhaps have been overlooked? With all these upper-level positions to be filled, surely if a serious collaborative, detailed, and comprehensive internship program designed to TRAIN and prepare graduates for certain management roles was put in place, wouldn’t that person then upon finishing their degree be able to step into that role with at least some familiarity with the company, culture, and position requirements? This requires forward-thinking five and ten years ahead by today’s leaders, to determine what the leadership needs will be and developing talent to fulfill those forecasted needs accordingly.

Benchmarking Successful Human Resource Management

Jamaican companies want leaders, but they are not cultivating them. I will soon have an MBA, beyond the required BS/BA degree for most jobs, but the ads will usually indicate needing 5 to 10 years experience for things the U.S. requires maybe 1 to 3 years experience for. I believe in part it is because they usually only require the BS/BA degree, while the U.S. might simply require a Masters degree in place of some of the years of experience required in Jamaica and other countries in the Caribbean. However requiring that amount of years for the position still excludes many people who are bright enough to learn the requirements of the position given comprehensive and supportive on the job training! Caribbean companies need to embrace in-house training and development and stop requiring or waiting on someone who can walk in the door able to take the position and run with it unsupported.

Companies throughout the region need to take a page from the recruiters swarming U.S. college campuses every semester, and off the Bible verse that says "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it!" The concept behind that is you don't wait for someone to walk in off the street groomed by some other company for some other company’s purposes...you actively develop a comprehensive yet focused relationship with known sources of talent, and invite the best you can get into a solid leadership preparation program with the goal of training them YOURSELF and developing their loyalty and drive to see the company succeed.

Activity: Survey of Your Responses

Please respond with your ideas on how Caribbean companies can halt the brain drain of young college graduates, and ideas for attracting, retaining, and DEVELOPING for leadership the 20 to 30 year olds in (and even outside) the island who want to be part of stimulating the economy if they only had the opportunity! (There are also other logistical issues with reversing the brain drain as far as those who have already left, but that is a story for another time.)

Think of all areas that need to be addressed, when submitting your suggestions. Examples (this list is not all-inclusive) include:

  • Company support for furthering education
  • Support for on the job training (internships, new hires, existing employees to be developed, etc.)
  • Development of professional skills that may otherwise be lacking (technical “hard” skills)
  • Development of professional skills such as networking, teamwork and team motivation, time management, etc. (“soft” skills)

Please email responses to michellegrahamday@yahoo.com

  • Indicate your career level and academic level (e.g. student, pursuing [insert] degree in [insert major], senior manager, BS or assistant manager, certification in [insert]). No names will be used in results.
  • Responses are due by December 30, 2007.

By Michelle Graham Day
Contributing Business Writer



  • I don't think that they are an endangered species, they are just more likely to work for themselves instead.

    My experience has been that you get hired to present and execute great ideas, but then most of the implementation stalls, even though the upper management likes them.

    The companies also do not recruit actively, but then they don't seem to be growing much and may not be able to absorb new talent right now.

    Jamaican companies also seem to be afraid of change and refuse to ask my generation what we want to achieve and how the job will help us. A one-sided conversation is the norm - "I pay you to do x".

    Also, if I show that I could be more productive with X software or hardware and you promise to get it, don't take 1 year to do that.

    I think it comes back to a simple lack of respect for graduates and youth in our culture. The older heads feel that they know everything.

    By Blogger David Mullings, at 11/05/2007  

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