As Generation Y enters the workforce, it has quickly become obvious that its work style is different from any previous generation. Many business leaders still don’t understand the major clash occurring between the generations in UK workplaces.
Today, for the first time in human history, there are four generations jostling for elbowroom in the workplace. According to the UK Census Bureau (2011), there are 9.1million Traditionalists - the most senior generation - largely retired now and leaving the workforce in droves. There are 16 million Baby Boomers, making them the largest group.
Some have now retired early and greater numbers are set to retire within the next few years, which will create an employment gap unlike anything business and industry has experienced before. Then there are 12.5 million Generation X’ers, who are currently moving into management, upper management, and executive positions. Finally, there are 15 million Millennials - also known as Generation Y - born between 1982 and 2000, the oldest of which is entering the workforce in significant numbers.
Simply put, while the last economic downturn may have delayed Baby Boomers’ retirement plans, the demographic reality is that in the very near future, 16 million Baby Boomers will be exiting the workforce with only 12.5 million Gen Xers to back-fill those retiring Boomers, the balance will have to come from the ranks of Gen Y.
Millennials have the advantage of timing and demographics. Even with unemployment at record highs, we are already seeing increasing demand and competition for young employees who bring new perspectives and technological abilities to the workforce. There is simply no escaping our demographics.
Managers face major challenges as they struggle to understand, collaborate with, and
integrate Gen Y into their teams. In short, business leaders will have to learn to think, communicate, and behave differently if they are to attract and keep these new employees.
While many believed the recent economic downturn would make Gen Y more collaborative and reluctant to change jobs, data have not supported that belief. Instead, Gen Y has simply moved home to live with their Boomer parents in greater numbers than seen in prior generations.
Large Fortune 500 companies are already seeking to implement programs to attract and
retain Gen Y, and medium and smaller-sized companies will have to do the same in order to stay competitive.
The secret to recruiting, retaining, and successfully motivating Gen Y is understanding
their strengths and priorities - what I call “Magnet Factors.”
If you understand what motivates your workforce you will be able to create a high performance corporate culture that delivers real results. There is no question about it.
For more from Dr. Gustavo watch his latest video on "How Gen X can work best with Gen Y" here.