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Generations at work

Generations at work

With as many as four generations currently active on the job market, why is talent not as attracted to or remain with certain organisations?

Staff turnover in the UK is approximately 15% per year but many businesses turnover is much higher. Securing and retaining strong talent is not just about the recruitment process itself but maintaining employees throughout the lifecycle of employment.


Four generations working together

In some organisations four generations are working together, each bringing different work ethics, culture, and skills.

Baby Boomers – Born between 1946 and 1964 make up 6% of the workforce.

Generation X – Born between 1965 and 1981 make up 35% of the workforce.

Generation Y (aka Millennials) – Born between 1982 and 1997 make up 35% of the workforce.

Generation Z – Born between 1997 and 2012 make up 20% of the workforce.


Difference between Millennials and Gen X

With Gen X and Millennials making up 70% of the workforce it’s important to make the workplace an inviting and motivating space for both.

Career Progression - Generation X often look at career progression as a ladder, being promoted in order to reach the top. However, Millennials are often more concerned with personal development and rapid growth (90%) and will move roles in order to learn the skills they want rather than follow a traditional career progression.

Job Rotation – As Millennials are often looking for skills development they are more likely to consider job rotation (70%) within a company than Generation X.

Flexibility – 57% of Millennials expect to change jobs within two years, and 40% leave within a year. If a job doesn’t satisfy their development and lifestyle needs they will move on.

Teamwork – Both Generation X (61%) and Millennials (55%) believe team consensus is key to a harmonious workplace.


Workplace Improvements

Many businesses have been run in a certain way for decades. With changes in the way different generations work together, as well as post-pandemic priority shifts a work culture designed for Baby Boomers is no longer viable for a workforce comprised primarily of Gen X and Millennials. Some of the key changes they would like to see in the workplace are:

Management Style – 80% of Millennials expect managers to be mentors or coaches. Interestingly, 75% of managers feel they are doing this successfully although only 26% of Millennials agree.

Appreciation – Both Gen X and Millennials feel their efforts in the workplace go unrecognised, especially when they have gone above and beyond expectations.

Company Values – Millennials (74%) base employment on a business whose values and ethics match their own, whereas Gen X associate employment with their own personal growth and career development.

Flexible Working –Both Millennials and Generation X value a work/life balance, and 79% of Millennials favour flexible hours.

Company Transparency – Closing the gap between new starters and current employees is important for both generations. Offering new staff higher wages, better benefits, and more flexible working than current staff contributes to dissatisfaction and staff turnover.

For many years there has been a widening gap between the generations at work which can create a toxic work environment. With Millennials and Generation X making up the majority of the workforce, bridging this gap between them by designing a motivating work environment where all employees learn from each other and respect the skills and strengths they have will create a stronger team and a more loyal workforce.

Tom Gowing

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