Current Issues

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

Why Change-Hungry Young Generations are the Key to Unlocking Growth

07-Feb-2018
Why Change-Hungry Young Generations are the Key to Unlocking Growth
The struggle to recruit skilled workers is a recurring concern for manufacturing businesses across the world. An EEF report recently revealed that three-quarters of manufacturers have struggled to recruit skilled workers in the last three years.

This industry analysis suggests that manufacturers are dealing with a lack of both quantity and quality when it comes to applicants, with not enough people applying for roles and job-seekers lacking the technical skills required to fill available vacancies. The report cautions that manufacturers’ plans to drive productivity improvements and to capitalise on Industry 4.0 could be derailed and with demand for skills set to rocket, the situation is about to spiral further.

Yet, with new generations entering the workforce perhaps there’s light at the end of the tunnel. These younger generations bring with them a fresh outlook and a desire for personal growth that, if harnessed properly, could be the injection that businesses need to succeed. However, attracting this new talent is not always easy.

Changing workplaces

Younger generations are entering the workforce at a time of technological change and economic disruption. These forces are shaping the choices they make and the experiences they seek when applying for jobs. What’s more, the career choices this generation makes now, will in turn eventually shape the global economy.

Organisations face a unique set of challenges when it comes to integrating new generations into the workforce, and balancing their needs and expectations, along with those of existing workers. For example, the so-called Baby Boomer generation, which comprises of workers born before the sixties, has very different ways of working compared to Generation X, currently aged 36-55. Studies, such as those by The Gerontologist and The Open University have characterised Baby Boomers as motivated by position, perks and prestige, making them believe that Generation X and younger generations should, like them, conform to a culture of overwork.

Some members of these generations may be soon to retire, but they will nonetheless need to work alongside much younger generations first—including Millennials, who are currently under the age of 30 and members of Generation Z, who were born in the late nineties. These groups, in contrast to their older colleagues, grew up in an environment where diversity and the need to balance multiple tasks at once was the norm. Thus, they seek flexibility, team work, and the acceptance of their ideas.

What’s more, as these younger generations come up through the ranks, they are rapidly becoming the most dominant population in today’s workplace, bringing with them innovative ways of working, fresh ideas and challenges for their older colleagues.

Indeed, a clash in attitudes and priorities has resulted in many commentators giving younger generations a bad rap. Only recently, the CBI published a report which showed a third of companies are concerned about young people’s attitude to work, believing that many graduates and school leavers lack the mindset and skills required to thrive in the current workplace.

But are we giving young people a hard time when we should perhaps be looking at the assets they bring to a company instead?

Renewed focus on growth
As part of its global growth survey, Epicor set about trying to better understand how attitudes to business growth vary amongst different generations. Millennials and Generation Z, referred to as Gen ZY in the research, want to know that work is a place of growth and development, where they can find their purpose and be passionate about what they do.

The survey found that these generations are more “excited” about the growth experienced in their company than Baby Boomers (29% versus 27%), and that they are also a lot more optimistic about growth trends. Three quarters (72%) believed their business’s growth prospects had improved in the last 12 months, whereas just 50 per cent of Baby Boomers felt the same.

This optimism of youth can be harnessed by organisations looking to drive growth. For example, we are seeing the proliferation of creative office design, short term office leases and co-working spaces across regions around the world, as well as increases in flexibility in work schedules, work attire and human resource policies at both large and small companies.

The use of technology is also a factor, as having access to the latest tech goes a long way towards attracting the best talent, boosting morale and driving operational efficiencies. Many of these ideas and trends are refreshing and useful to growing innovative companies.

New generational challenges
Generation ZY is likely to have to confront obstacles to prosperity that their parents didn’t face. They are better educated than previous generations—but in today’s world, many, if not most, will be forced to retool and switch careers several times during their working life.

IT advancement is in many ways a double-edged sword for young people. The digital economy has enabled the creation of millions of new jobs, but artificial intelligence and robotics may soon displace many traditional manufacturing roles.

However, the good news is that many younger people are aware of these challenges and often look to the application of the latest technologies to overcome their problems. The Epicor survey found that younger generations are more likely to embrace new innovative technologies. Over half (52%) see better technology as a solution to current stresses and challenges, compared to 45 per cent of Gen X, and 38 per cent Baby Boomers.

But beware of the ‘one size fits all’ mindset, because not every employee will fit the description of their generation. Mark Zuckerberg for example, who was born in 1984, is arguably too old to be classed as a Millennial but is nonetheless renowned for his capacity for being on the cutting edge of social technologies. Many Gen X and Baby Boomer employees too, are also technologically forward-thinking and willing to adapt to today’s digital world.

As the generation of digital natives makes waves in the work environment, organisations that play to these young people’s strengths will ultimately gain thriving and motivated workers, allowing them to grow in the long term.

This involves engaging with young workers on new, social and truly interactive platforms, such as using social enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools to collaborate on projects, or by using gamification methods to motivate teams and drive results. Also important is the need to utilise the latest technology for training, for efficiency, and for automating manual tasks that might otherwise leave younger generations bored. This is the future workplace. Is your business ready?

Successful Freight Match Takes Intelligence
13 hours ago
KFC delivery woes show the value of supply chains in modern business
1 day ago
With an "analog supply chain," the resulting lack of agility will cost you
2 days ago
Are UK shoppers falling out of love with the internet?
5 days ago
How to Prevent Weather Fluctuations from Taking Your Supply Chain by Storm
1 week ago
With Pressure Rising, 3PLs Can Improve Internal Efficiency
1 week ago
Perfecting the illusion of a single, seamless retail experience with Networked Order Management
1 week ago
Efficiencies should begin at the printer
1 week ago
Battle Of The Sexes: Views Divided Between Gender Pay Gap And Career Damage From Having Children
1 week ago
The UK’s Productivity Puzzle: How Updating Technology Can Bolster Manufacturing Output
1 week ago
What is on-demand warehousing?
1 week ago
A longer view from the inside: Infor GT Nexus Commerce Network customers look beyond 2018
2 weeks ago
Cross-border Logistics: Complex but Inescapable
2 weeks ago
UK manufacturing growing, but starts to slow from price pressures
2 weeks ago
The Future of Consumption: A Question of Trust
3 weeks ago
Three New Year’s Resolutions Retailers should be making for 2018
3 weeks ago
Stronger Sterling suggests UK economy is in better shape than expected
3 weeks ago
Vehicle Shortage Continues To Worsen According To TimoCom’s Transport Barometer
3 weeks ago
Calling all business communications!
3 weeks ago
Gartner Says Self-Service Analytics and BI Users Will Produce More Analysis Than Data Scientists Will by 2019
3 weeks ago
Now Brexit may end 14-day ‘cooling off’ shopping returns
3 weeks ago
In the future, retail is all about embracing "temporary"
4 weeks ago
'Tis the Season for Post-Holiday Product Returns: Are You Prepared?
4 weeks ago
Europa Road Maps Out 2018’s Main Challenges
4 weeks ago
The Stress Factor: What the Online Rhetoric Doesn’t Tell You about Business Growth
4 weeks ago
Food Safety Belongs in the Supply Chain
4 weeks ago
Your business already uses e-business – are you using it to your benefit?
1 month ago
Guidance for Employers on the General Data Protection Regulation coming into force in May
1 month ago
Four Predictions for Supply Chain Operations to Kick Off 2018
1 month ago
Supply chain visibility 2018: You can’t hit what you can’t see..
1 month ago
Analysts Support a Single Model for Sales and Operations Planning
1 month ago
Industry 4.0 – Seize the Moment (in small steps)
1 month ago
Kuebix Makes 2018 Transportation Predictions That Will Shake-Up the Supply Chain
1 month ago
Looking Ahead at CRM Trends for 2018
1 month ago
Driver Shortage The Biggest Challenge Facing The Road Transport Sector In 2018 Says Paragon Survey
1 month ago
A View on Blockchain for Business—Transformational Blockbuster for 2018, or ‘Slow Burn’?
1 month ago
The State of Food & Beverage Labeling
1 month ago
2028: What Work Will Look Like a Decade from Now
1 month ago
UK manufacturing sees continued growth
1 month ago
Logistics in 2018 will be an anxiety-inducing war of tech vs. economics, and that’s great
1 month ago
GateHouse Telecom Sees ‘Connectivity’ Dominating Satellite Communications in 2018
1 month ago
Home Depot’s rumoured XPO Logistics take-over ‘bad news for UK brands’ warns ParcelHero
1 month ago
Why inkjet is the printing technology of the future
1 month ago
Is it ALL about the last mile?
2 months ago
Open your presents early urges ParcelHero! Faulty Black Friday purchases must be returned by Christmas Eve
2 months ago
Auto Manufacturers: Be Ready for Recalls
2 months ago
Three Business Rules to Forget in the Digital Era
2 months ago
British factories are about to increase investment at the strongest rate in four years
2 months ago
AI – Unlocking the Secrets of the Global Supply Chain
2 months ago