Generational hiring is when you hire across the available age range, from the youngest to the more mature and benefit from what each section of the workforce brings to your organisation.
A snapshot of the generations
There are five generations that make up the current workforce.
Here are the five generations in order from the youngest to the oldest.
- Generation Z – born between 2001 and 2020
- Millennials – born between 1981 and 2000
- Generation X – born between 1965 and 1980
- Baby Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964
- Silent Generation – born between 1925 and 1945
The silent generation numbers around 20 million, making up around 3% of the workforce globally.
In July 2019, according to Pew Research Centre, Millennials became the largest cohort in the workplace, edging out Baby Boomers 72.1 million to 71.6 million.
Generation X in 2019 numbered 65.2 million but is predicted to grow beyond the Boomer population by 2028.
Data shows that by 2025 Gen-Z will make up 27% of the workforce. Also known as generation connected or the dot com kids, there are 2 billion Gen-Z globally.
The five generations that make up the workforce
The oldest generation currently in the workforce is the silent generation. They will have grown up without much of the technology that the younger generations take for granted and may have overcome adverse economic conditions during their lives.
They tend to be hard workers with strong core values who want to feel they receive a fair day’s pay for a job well done. They are generally good-humoured and don’t tend to stress too much over deadlines. Their easy-going nature makes them good teammates.
Baby Boomers are experienced and hardworking people. They value knowing the why behind decisions that affect them and how their actions can influence company success.
Though they didn’t grow up with technology, they’re used to working with it and are adept at using it at work and in their personal lives.
They are often looking for stability, good healthcare benefits and the possibility of flexible hours as they get closer to retirement.
Generation X or Gen X will want growth opportunities from their role as well as a clearly defined promotional path and good professional development opportunities.
Work-life balance is also essential as this group will often be caring for ageing relatives or children, and they want to be able to enjoy family time and leisure activities.
Additionally, healthcare benefits and a good pension plan are important for this cohort.
Company ethics and culture are critical for millennials. They want to work with organisations they believe in and trust and share the values that are important to them.
Social connection is essential to them, and they thrive in companies that have a strong internal culture.
Perks are also essential for millennials, including working from home, free lunches and gym memberships, and affordable healthcare.
There are many similarities between Gen Z and millennials in what they require from an organisation.
Gen Z also sees ethics as important and will want the same perks as millennials. They thrive in an all-digital environment and love the working from home culture.
Conversely, company culture is less important as long as they feel they are being treated equally.
Why Generational Recruitment is Essential
Whatever service or product you’re selling, it’s unlikely that you are focussing solely on one distinct demographic. Instead, to sell effectively across a wide range of age groups, you need to know what makes the various groups tick and what type of message will resonate with them.
If your organisation tends to hire from one generational group, you’ll have the in-house expertise to sell to them but may lack the knowledge to help other age groups.
Hiring generationally gives you access to people from every generation who can influence the way you market to different segments of the population.
Additionally, diversity and inclusion have taken on new importance in 2022, with a 123% rise in job postings featuring ED&I during 2021. Recruiting a diverse range of candidates helps you achieve a happy, productive workplace and attract top talent in a marketplace that lacks great candidates.
Benefits of a Multigenerational Workplace
As the old saying goes, two brains are better than one. However, the benefits are amplified if those two brains are from different generations.
Younger generations have energy, a fresh perspective, and an enthusiasm to learn. Older generations have a wealth of experience to offer, which can often be crucial if your business encounters problems.
That experience can be used to help a business learn from its mistakes and recover more quickly if it does face problems.
However, it is essential to avoid the problem of knowledge silos that can occur if employees are not integrated effectively and don’t collaborate effectively.
An easy fix for this problem is to ensure your teams have a cross-section of ages with different working styles or create opportunities for cross-collaboration across teams.
How to hire generationally
When you hire generationally, it’s not so that you can fulfil diversity quotas but find the right person for the job irrespective of whether they tick the correct box.
It’s essential that you keep an open mind, so you don’t inadvertently turn away an excellent applicant who doesn’t fit your preconceived notion of who you are looking for.
To hire candidates across different generations, you’ll need to adapt the approach you use to attract the people you want.
The majority of people will use some digital channels, but older generations may not use a broad range of social media. However, Boomers, for example, will use YouTube and Facebook as well as your website but ensure its mobile optimised.
Traditional forms of communication are also trusted by Boomers and Silent Generation job hunters, like print and radio, so these could reap the rewards if you’re keen to attract those age groups.
Gen X tend to be digitally savvy and will be comfortable with email and SMS messaging. They’ll be happy to utilise multiple online sources like job boards and will be looking for a combination of company culture and the nuts and bolts of a role.
Millennials are comfortable with all forms of digital communication and will use everything from websites to job boards and social media.
They’ll not want to be a cog in the machine but will need a role that lets them positively contribute to company performance and how the business affects the local community.
Gen Zers are enthusiastic social media users, so this is a great way to sell the benefits of your brand, company culture and how the role can make a difference and contribute beyond the regular day-to-day.
Similar to millennials, they’ll be interested in benefits beyond a health package and pension plan. For example, offering tuition reimbursement or student loan repayment packages could tip the balance in your favour.
Generational recruitment offers countless benefits beyond ticking the diversity box and may be the way to bring in top talent you may not have previously considered.
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