Organisations have always been places that are perpetually renewed by a constant stream of younger workers, but for the first time all that is starting to change. With birth rates down, the retirement age rising and people generally healthier for longer, the workplace of the future could be quite different.
With a workforce that is gradually getting older, employers need to think about how they will not only cater for the diverse needs of different generations – but also vary their recruitment practices to appeal to all age groups.
Not enough young people to fill the roles
Being a good employer and filling vacancies with the most suitable candidates is no longer a simple case of attracting younger workers or the best graduates. Figures from ACAS show that, over the next ten years, 13.5 million jobs will be created in the UK but there will only be 7 million workers entering the labour market to fill them.
That means employers are increasingly going to have to target their efforts at recruiting older workers and adapting aspects of the recruitment process and the workplace to meet their needs. Needless to say, every generation is shaped by the economic circumstances, culture, education and society at the time. Although it’s wrong to generalise, it’s fair to say certain generations of workers will have different expectations around their careers.
Millennials currently rule the roost
The largest demographic group currently in the workforce is the Millennials, defined as those born between 1980 and 2000. Millennials are typically less likely to stay in their current jobs for the long term when compared to previous generations. They have also enjoyed a unique career advantage in that many are more technologically capable than their senior managers. They are also more capable and flexible when it comes to adapting to new technology.
However, some employers will also be aware that Millennials are less comfortable with the rigid structures larger businesses tend to have and do not always give their employers long-term loyalty. This can cause problems for recruiters.
Many Millennials also value a flexible working life that may include some freedom to choose the hours they work or the ability to work from home. Employers that are willing to match these expectations may be able to put themselves at an advantage when it comes to recruitment.
The potential for conflict
Given the significant disparity in the way different generations work, there is potential for intergenerational conflict in the workplace which employers will have to cope with. One of the biggest differences is in the way they communicate, with younger workers typically happy to communicate electronically, while older workers value face-to-face meetings. Younger workers are also more likely to need regular praise, guidance and feedback, which can lead older workers to see them as needy.
There can also be significant differences in what each group expects from the workplace. Typically, the younger generation prefers an informal and sociable atmosphere, while older workers can favour a more formal workplace.
All this means there are likely to be considerable challenges ahead for employers and recruitment. Taking a pragmatic approach to recruiting and training each generation will help, but perhaps the key is to treat each worker as an individual regardless of their age and really get to their heart of what they need to succeed at work.
How can we help?
Are you looking for a bilingual recruit on the English South Coast? Whatever their age, we can help. Please call the Linguistica Recruitment team today on 02392 987 765 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.