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Why working from home may harm career prospects for young professionals

Existing research shows students and young people are less likely to attend professional conferences when those meetings go online.

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(Photo by Mix Tape via Shutterstock)

By Gwyn Wright via SWNS

Working from home is harming the career prospects of students and budding young professionals, according to a leading academic.

Professor Ryan Harne says people beginning their careers prefer in-person meetings and networking events, but their bosses prefer to do things virtually.

He explained that many networking opportunities effectively become closed to young people as a result, limiting their ability to thrive in their chosen job.

Existing research shows students and young people are less likely to attend professional conferences when those meetings go online.

To begin to fix the problem, Professor Harne says careers fairs on university campuses must be held in person if companies want to hire the best talent.

In contrast, companies looking to permanently transition to entirely remote working will struggle to hire bright youngsters who have little exposure to the careers they are looking to work in.

Reaching out to young people in person will also help companies reduce staff turnover, according to the academic.

Professor Harne, of Penn State University, said: “Students are familiar and adept at in-person communication and often do not accept virtual communication as a substitute in professional networking.

"This trend can be linked to the decline of student participation in professional or society conferences when those meetings go virtual.

“While remote or hybrid work environments are a sustainable solution for existing employees, they have the potential to provoke long-term high turnover of new hires who feel less inclined to 'stick with it' when there are lurches in their on-ramping due to the lack of rapport fostered by face-to-face engagement.”

His comments were made during a presentation at the 182nd meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Denver, Colorado.

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