What is generational diversity?

Diversity and inclusion continue to be a hot topic in 2023, with many organisations now understanding the benefits and proactively looking at different ways to attract diverse talent. Perhaps one of the most prevalent, yet overlooked, diversity factors is generational diversity.

Many people are rethinking their retirement ages, and there is an increase in younger people entering the workforce at a higher level earlier in their careers due to apprenticeships and degree-level vocational pathways.

Many workplaces could be juggling up to four different generations. This impacts how you can both recruit and retain staff.

How do you attract the best talent from so many different generational pools, keep everyone happy internally and ensure that different voices, ideas and perceptions are heard?

Attraction

While it’s still highly important to show the salary for roles you are recruiting, this is now only one of many aspects that potential candidates look at when considering a role.

Although you can’t offer different benefits to different workers, you can think more strategically about how you provide an assortment of options so people can personalise their experience and feel more valued.

It is also important to think about how to position your organisation and the opportunities you are offering based on the most likely generations you are targeting for certain roles.

This isn’t to say that you won’t find talent outside of a particular generational group — but to ensure you are positioning yourself in the most attractive way to potential candidates, it is important to recognise what they are looking for beyond a job title.

“The biggest challenge to retaining talent across all generations is ensuring that there is a mutual respect and openness from one group to another in all directions.”

Boomers

Born between 1946 and 1964, much of this generation is either retired or nearing retirement. However, there is still a thriving number of Boomers who are remaining in work. Whether through necessity or the choice to keep topping up pensions, wanting to give back by sharing their experience, skills and knowledge, or simply keeping busy and active, they often hold senior or consultancy roles or non-executive roles.

Unsurprisingly, a study by MetLife found that over 90% of Boomers want their employers to provide health insurance including medical, dental, and vision, whereas those in part-time or consultancy roles however would prefer other types of wellness benefits such as gym memberships or discounts on health services (e.g. chiropractic care).

Providing part-time or flexible working options is great to harness their skills and knowledge — while allowing them the opportunity to maintain a work-life balance or slowly wind down their work commitments.

Gen-X

Born between 1965 and 1980, this generation is currently the backbone of the workforce. They have the most experience within organisations and normally hold the most senior roles.

However, their priorities are still financially focused. Key responsibilities many Gen-Xers have in their personal lives include:

  • Childcare and children’s education
  • Taking care of parents
  • Planning for retirement

Key benefits and messages which will attract people from this generation to your organisation could include:

  • Financial and retirement planning advice.
  • Flexible working options allow people to balance life and work commitments, including condensed hours, job shares, part-time working and shorter working weeks.
  • Hybrid/remote options allow access to the best talent on a wider geographical scale whilst not expecting someone at this stage of their life to relocate.
  • Health and wellbeing including preventative care, health and fitness discounts or memberships, other wellbeing methods such as language courses, food delivery services, subscriptions etc.

Millennials (Gen-Y)

Born between 1981 and 1995, most people assume Millenials are young and free. In fact, they are most likely to be the generation starting or growing their families, paying student loans, and buying homes. In fact, over 14 million Millennials have student loan debt — more than any other generation.

Many Millennials are also driven by career aspirations. Many have gained several years of experience and are looking for the next step up into more senior and strategic roles within organisations.

Key areas to attract Millennials include:

  • Career and skills development into more senior roles.
  • Flexible working schedules to help them with family commitments.
  • Hybrid or remote working allows them to consider housing outside of expensive urban areas without the commute or salary sacrifice.
  • Financial advice around family benefits, early retirement planning and options, mortgages and student loan repayment assistance.
  • Competitive maternity and paternity pay and leave, and childcare options.

Gen Z

Born between 1996- 2012, Gen Z will be the youngest generation in your workforce. They will hold both management and entry-level roles and will continue to be the new faces for quite some time, given that a large proportion are still in school.

They are the generation most socially impacted by the Covid pandemic, with a completely different experience to work and education than previous generations.

Research from the 2018 Perkbox survey (The Great Perk Search) suggests that Generation Z places more importance on workplace perks than other generations. In fact, over a third (36%) of Gen Zers say employee benefits influence their decision to accept a job.

Although traditional benefits remain important, they are looking for:

  • Flexible working schedules.
  • Support with travel and transport – free parking, bus passes, and season ticket loans.
  • Social activities and face-to-face office time.
  • Enhanced annual leave and sabbatical opportunities.
  • Health and wellbeing initiatives such as gym memberships, healthcare schemes, wellbeing initiatives etc.

There is also a focus on an organisation’s culture and priorities.

In the same survey, more than half of young adults experienced feelings of boredom, isolation, a decrease in fitness, and general anxiety.

Candidates from this generation want to see how an organisation is actively involved in and supports:

  • Mental health
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Environmental and sustainability actions
  • Inhouse collaboration and a communal approach to work where employees feel comfortable and open to raising issues
  • Allowing individual identity and comfort

Making your initiatives, commitments and, importantly, your achievements in these areas clear in your advertising and recruitment processes will allow you to continue to attract talent from this tech-savvy generation for years to come.

“Ensuring a collaborative and communal environment means that people can acknowledge and appreciate the strengths and insights other generations bring.”

Retention

The biggest challenge to retaining talent across all generations is ensuring that there is a mutual respect and openness from one group to another in all directions.

Ensuring a collaborative and communal environment means that people can acknowledge and appreciate the strengths and insights other generations bring.

It is also important to recognise that these groups, their work and personal circumstances and situations, as well as what they want from their employers and lives are not static. As generations progress through their career, their experience and skills develop — and what they want from a role and employer will also likely change as their personal priorities and situations do also. IE Gen-Z will one day be the Millennials and Gen-X will one day maybe want to go part-time and top up pensions but will not want the high level responsibility they once did.

It’s important to stay in touch with the wants and needs of your employees, the future generations to come and consistently review how you present your organisation and the benefits you offer your team.

 

Sources


Kristina Preston is our Head of Awarding and Skills Appointments. With extensive recruitment experience at every level across education and skills sectors, Kristina uses her expertise to proudly support our partners to recruit brilliant candidates in this niche area of the UK and worldwide education system. She also works closely with the Federation of Awarding Bodies on our strategic relationship as their Platinum Supplier of executive search, recruitment and board development services. You can connect with Kristina on Linkedin or send her an email.