The latest news and advice from our recruitment experts.
The combination of the fact that we’re living longer in New Zealand while more and more youngsters are entering the jobs market means that employers are facing the prospect of having five generations in the workplace.
From the outset, it’s important to realise that this is a great opportunity for any business – from SMEs to large corporations. The right mix of experience, working style, technological ability and outlook on work/life balance can help companies grow and flourish.
But it’s also vital to understand that these five generations respond to different types of recruitment, management, training and retention strategies and so businesses that want to gain the momentum of hiring across the age-barriers need to develop ways in which they can reach the right people for their teams – regardless of their generation.
So what are the generations and how do they view their work lives? The terminology changes slightly around the world – as do the years, although not by a great deal – but the general picture is:
This latest generation to reach the workforce will be integral to how businesses succeed so it’s important to understand what drives them. Their most important feature is that they entirely grew up within technology. Unlike Gen-Yers, who helped grow social media, blogging and sharing by learning and adapting the technology, Gen-Zers have always had it in their lives. This means that they are going to respond to social media recruitment campaigns and expect their employers and managers to communicate with them via technology.
And because they have usually used tablets and mobile devices throughout their education they are much more likely to expect on-boarding, training and learning to happen through their own efforts rather than having someone stand over them or teach from in front of a whiteboard.
Because most Gen-Zers have been raised by demanding Gen-X parents, they tend to be disciplined, task-orientated and proactive – which means job descriptions should be precise and managers should act more as mentors than teachers.
Key recruitment tip: Many Gen-Zers are looking to get into employment earlier than previous generations but value work/life balance more so it’s important to stress flexibility and company values as much as salary and career trajectory.
This generation is already filling important roles throughout all echelons of society as well as providing an entrepreneurial boost to new start-ups and leadership to big business. Their most defining characteristic is being comfortable with technology having seen it develop exponentially during their education and early employment. And that technology has also meant that they are incredibly well-educated about the world around them.
They value teamwork, embrace diversity and multitask – but are also demanding, having been brought up largely by Baby boomers. Employers need to treat employees and applicants as customers, constantly working to retain them by offering an attractive workplace and good work/life balance.
Because they will share information about their job with their peers, your strongest recruitment tool is word of mouth and social media.
Key recruitment tip: They will want to interview you, rather than the other way around so ensure your company website is clear and up-to-date.
Many Gen Xers grew up in an age of financial insecurity, brought up by parents who worked long hours and had a high divorce rate. Their defining influences are the birth of computers, mass media such as MTV and global issues such as AIDS and the dot-com crash.
Their most frequently discussed attributes are a strong desire (in comparison to their workaholic parents) for work-life balance, independence and self-reliance, and a tendency to challenge authority.
This means that when you are selling an employment opportunity, you must be transparent and show the challenges of the position as well as salary and career path.
Their best characteristics – and those that recruiters can tap into – are that Gen Xers started their careers just as technology was really taking off which means that they understand how to use it but don’t rely on it.
Key recruitment tip: Stress flexible work conditions and the company culture.
The post-war baby boom is still impacting the workforce today – perhaps, when it comes to retirement ages and pension schemes, even more so. But having Boomers in your workforce can be incredibly beneficial: especially if you see the potential of semi-retired executives working part-time or you understand the benefits of people who like working in an office environment, during traditional work hours and without a tendency to challenge authority.
Because this generation was brought up to obey authority, but then rebelled in the face of events such as the Vietnam War, anti-nuclear and civil rights movements and the sexual revolution, they are characterised as believing themselves to be a generation which could change the world. But that also turned them into a generation of workaholics who would sacrifice home and private life for hard work.
Key recruitment tip: Contact Baby boomers via phone rather than email to offer employment – it isn’t that they don’t like technology, they simply prefer the human touch.
Although there are few of this generation still in the workforce, the realisation by many that they will not be able to save enough of a nest egg to keep them through a long retirement, means that some are still available for work – and can be beneficial to a business. This generation is characterised as being strongly influenced by the economic and social turmoil before and during World War II and is therefore disciplined, frugal, conservative and highly committed to teamwork and collaboration.
They are also, of course, thinkers and doers as opposed to reliers on technology – and they can be trusted to be loyal and fit easily into hierarchies.
Key recruitment tip: Traditionalists respond well to titles and honours – especially if they recognise service and experience.
For more information on how QJumpers can provide recruitment software and services to help you identify the right individuals for roles in your company, contact us on 0800 758673, firstname.lastname@example.org or via the website.
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