Posted January 21, 2020 by Mark Perna
In a historically tight labor market, a brand-new study uncovers the nuances of the multigenerational workforce. Mark’s article, “Late-Breaking Research Shows What Four Unique Generations At Work Really Want,” published at Forbes.com on January 21, 2020.
Today’s labor market is tighter than ever. A full 54% of companies worldwide report a scarcity of skilled workers—almost double what it was just a decade ago. To stay competitive in the labor market, employers have no choice but to deliver what workers really want. But what is that exactly?
To stay competitive in the labor market, employers have no choice but to deliver what workers really want. But what is that exactly? Click To Tweet
Just in time, a brand-new study by ManpowerGroup delves into the nitty-gritty of the new multigenerational workforce—breaking it down, generation by generation, to uncover what matters most for workers. Recognizing employers’ mandate to attract and retain skilled employees, the study ranks workplace priorities for each generation, sometimes even by gender, in both recruitment and retention.
While the bottom-line requirements like good pay, career advancement and challenging work are universal across all generations, there are significant nuances that employers can’t and shouldn’t ignore. Among the key findings:
Gen-Z—defined as ages 18–24—is most focused on money. The tough economic lessons that their parents learned during the Great Recession also hit home with them, especially women. Gen-Z men also value good pay, but almost equally, they value skills development and career advancement, too. Additionally, the study notes that college-educated women now outnumber college-educated men in the workforce—and Gen-Z won’t be content with unequal pay. Flexibility, challenging work and a strong brand also matter to today’s youngest generation.
Millennials—defined as ages 25–34—top their list with three things: higher pay, flexibility and challenging work. Flexibility is especially important for Millennial women, who are more likely to balance their career with family and home responsibilities. And given their known preference for group interactions, it’s no surprise that they also value working with a great team. Meanwhile, Millennial men appreciate positive relationships with co-workers and having a good boss.
Gen-X workers—defined as ages 35–54—are not only caring for their children, but for many, also their aging parents. It’s no surprise then that Gen-Xers—men and women alike—prioritize flexibility above all else. Their ability to choose when to start and end their workday, to work remotely when needed, and to utilize paid parental leave are all desired perks.
Boomers—defined as ages 55–64+—have long been characterized as solely focused on their career and paycheck. But as they age, some new priorities are emerging. While pay and challenging work still lead their list, they also place high importance on relationships with both company leadership and co-workers. Additionally, they are less interested in professional development to learn new skills—preferring instead to “grow as individuals, not just employees.”
All workers surveyed—regardless of generation or gender—are motivated by higher pay. Yet the study also notes that compensation can go beyond salary alone. Almost nine out of 10 U.S. workers value additional benefits as much as pay. Challenging work is also a universal priority, along with opportunities to grow professionally through coaching, goal setting, personalized assessments and mentorship. And workers want to see a clear career trajectory: where they are, where they’re going and how they’re going to get there. Allowing workers to upskill while on the clock through free training, online courses and a “culture of learnability” is another big advantage.
So there you have it. In a historically tight labor market, the nuances of the multigenerational workforce—and what four unique generations at work really want—are clear and oh-so-real. Now the question is, what are employers going to do about it?