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Employers and younger employees are aligned. Why?

January 9, 2013

Employers and younger employees are aligned. Why?


Back in my dad’s day, a job was a job for life. He worked for the same company from when he was a fresh graduate to retirement over 40 years later. This got me thinking about whether the concept of a job for life exists in businesses today. And even if it does, is it something I should be aspiring to?

It seems that many CEOs and hiring managers in today’s economy believe that the Australian market is volatile and perceive it not to be performing well, so many employers believe that employing contract staff rather than permanent staff will allow them to be flexible with their workforce when they need it, and not be tied to workers when times are leaner. As it becomes more common that businesses frequently change their staffing requirements to match workflow, the increased use and the improved management of contingent workers will become more common and necessary for business productivity and flexibility.

As the baby boomer generation (about one-third of the typical workforce in the developed world) is starting to retire, companies are bridging the skills gap with contract workers rather than new permanent hires. This contingent workforce is being used to supplement internal talent capabilities in the short term when necessary, as well as to increase the flexibility and responsiveness of the business. Some large companies estimate that up to 30 percent of their procurement spend goes toward contingent workers.

The average mix of contingent workers in US Fortune 100 companies is reported to be 20-30% of the workforce, but some estimate that this will increase to 50% within eight years, so it look increasingly unlikely that staying with one company for your entire working life is possible. However, business’s demand for flexible workers is being matched by the desire for change stemming from employees.

Our recent Workplace Study suggests that a quarter of Generation Y (18-30 year old) respondents are likely to actively look for a new job within the next year, compared to 17% of all respondents. This agrees with a PWC Global workforce survey that showed only 18%
new graduates said they intended
 to stay with their current employer long-term.

Gen Ys are also less likely to think that experience with multiple employers is seen as a detractor to career advancement, as some Baby Boomers (including my dad) do.

So for the moment it seems that the needs of employers and younger employees are aligned. But businesses must remember that it is still important for contract employees to feel involved in the business: our previous research has established the link between workers who feel engaged in their work and workplace productivity and satisfaction.

How do you plan to keep your workers motivated this year?

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