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2013 – The Beginning of the End!!

Posted on: January 23, 2013

Sharing this article from Nethire News – January 2013 – interesting!2013 – The Beginning of the End

The coming new year is going to bring many changes to the labour force, including the beginning of a shift in employee generations. As Baby Boomers begin to retire and those in Generation Y (Gen-Yers) start to take their place, employers need to assess their current work environment and hiring practices to ensure they are not alienating workers based on the generation they belong to. Only those employers who are able to adapt will be able to hire the right people and meet their staffing needs.

Despite a new trend in which older workers are waiting longer to retire, the next year will see a large number of Baby Boomers retiring. According to Statistics Canada, just under 400,000 Canadians will turn 65 in 2013. Extrapolating to the U.S., that means that 4,000,000 people this year will reach retirement age. And even though the average retirement age is increasing, it doesn’t mean that employees are staying in their current roles. Many Baby Boomers are leaving to start their own businesses or moving to roles with less responsibilities. As we’ve noted in previous articles, this mass retirement of the population has serious implications for businesses. Many key staff will retire, leaving businesses short staffed and in need of employees who have the expertise they require to continue to be competitive in today’s economy.

The inability to find qualified candidates, however, is made worse by a job market and employer assumptions that favour middle aged workers. Many employers are unable to find the people they need not only because of a lack of people, but also because they are not accommodating the people that make up a large percentage of the workforce. If companies are to thrive they need to assist older workers to adapt to new roles and to nurture and mentor the youngest generation in the workforce.

Generation Y has a bad reputation as being entitled, having short attention spans, and being over-focused on new technologies and methods of communication (ex: smartphones and Facebook). These descriptions, however, are often born from generational differences, rather than an accurate depiction of a generation. The fact is, there is a large resource pool of candidates to draw from if you are flexible and willing to adapt your current workplace to accept and welcome younger workers.

Striving to attract and retain Gen-Y workers doesn’t mean making one-sided compromises to your work environment. Understanding the main ways Gen-Yers differ from Baby Boomers can help you alter your workplace to accommodate new additions to your staff.

One reason why Gen-Yers are painted as entitled is because they often place a high value on a work-life balance. Many know what it’s like to grow up in dual-income households where the parents worked long hours. As Gen-Yers are now of an age where their starting their own families, offering flex-time and the ability to work from home is an attractive perk to this group. Those that are unattached, however, are often willing to work extra hours, making the transition to less senior staff easier.

Gen-Y is also known for growing up in an age of constantly changing technology and ways of communicating. Many articles have been written on the short attention span of people in the Y generation, however this can also be seen as a generational gap. Gen-Yers are used to always multitasking, always having to learn something new, whether it be a new computer program, new piece of technology like a smartphone, or new software. Organising your workplace so that they are free to explore and use new technologies and methods of communication as they come out means that not only will they be continuously engaged at work, but your company will remain at the cutting edge of new trends.

Younger workers won’t want to work for companies that do not accommodate their generational work habits, and companies will not find qualified people if they do not expand the profile of who is considered a star employee. If companies want to survive the shift in generations that is now occurring in the workforce, they will have to adapt themselves to the expectations of younger workers and the needs of the baby boomers.

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