Digital culture refers to the change in how technology is reformulating the way in which we behave as humans. It eludes to how technology has encompassed our everyday life and that it is simply not as mundane or restricted to the internet or modern technological devices but rather finds itself intertwined in humans’ everyday activities (Miller, 2010). This means that our digital life, and ordinary life, are gradually becoming more diluted (GDS, 2020). Digital culture and digitisation increased adoption both by companies and individuals during the 2010s as a result of the exponential expansion of the internet and popularity of mobile devices such as smartphones. This has created various digitised forms of information transfers such as social media as well as remote work, especially from 2020 onwards because of COVID-19 restrictions (Spacey, 2021).
Simultaneously, youth unemployment in the EU reached an all-time high at 25% in 2013 as a result of the 2008 recession and has dramatically decreased until 2020 when it increased again due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Eurostat, 2021). This was particularly prominent in areas where the economic crisis had drastic effects such Mediterranean and Eastern European countries and in rural areas of said nations (Berigel, Lendzhova & Neagu, 2021). As more youth wanted to get back into workforce, it was crucial that employers found innovative ways to incentivise and what was, a demotivated and dissuaded workforce.
One way that companies have attracted more youth employees is through remote working. Youth nowadays tend to request more flexibility and remote work gave them all the resources that they would need to complete their work while being in accustomed environment that is hoped to improve productivity (Grinuite, 2021).
Digital culture also allows further appearance of jobs are also more diverse and more specific as to cater for the plethora of skillsets that youth pertain. Digitisation allows for a work network in which employees are can engage and acquire talent easily. As a result, many youth workers who adopt digital culture are more labour agile and are more focused on purpose mission and work-life integration (Buchanan, Kelly & Hatch, 2016). In fact, after adopting digital culture, youth say that they are four times more engaged and five times more empowered (MindForest, 2016).
Moreover, digital culture aids in breaking down hierarchical structures of businesses. More and more, businesses are moving away from a centralised and top-down hierarchy as there is a stronger need to understand employees’ internal needs (GDS, 2020). This permits employees and managers to have a more lucrative and comprehensive interaction, which in turn will promote productivity. Though it also offers a way of safeguarding the business’ morals and structure for the future.
As said previously, youth are at the heart of encouraging innovation in the workplace and digital culture allows them to fulfil that. Having advanced digital tools can allow youth to show off enhanced creativity and nuanced techniques that may have been previously shrouded due to a lack of such culture that allowed it to flourish. Employers are more likely to appraise youth’s talent as to keep them on as a valuable asset for their business (Van Vilet, 2018).
In conclusion, after the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, digital culture has seen an increase both by youth adoption and employer acceptance of said strategy. It is clear that digital culture has facilitated then encouragement and innovation of many youths who were unemployed for prolonged periods of time or in a work environment that impeded their innovation and creativity (GDS, 2020). Even so there is a strong correlation between those EU states with higher youth unemployment rates and digital culture adoption rate; it is slower. These countries include those along the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe (Eurostat, 2021). Therefore, more work is needed for certain cultures to understand digital culture and its importance.
This project is funded by Erasmus+