Each year, author Dan Schawbel makes his top ten workplace trend predictions for the coming year for Forbes magazine. Last year, healthcare headed the list. This year, it’s all about generational change and its overall effect on the workplace. Because so many of us in management are facing workplace issues that range from the growing skills gap to the use of automation and outsourcing, I thought it was the perfect time, at the beginning of the year, to look at Schawbel’s predictions:
1. Companies hiring Generation Z for internships – Just as HR is starting to figure out how to appeal to millennials, they now have to consider a new generation, one that was born between the years 1994 and 2010. Obviously, the tail-end of this generation won’t be coming into the workforce any time soon; even so, companies have to plan for the day these later Gen Z’s will come of age. The oldest of this generation will be college seniors this year and are, therefore, ripe for recruitment. But recruiting the “best and the brightest” is an effort that now begins in high school! According to Schawbel, a study conducted by Millennial Branding found that half of employers surveyed are either currently accepting applications from high school students for internships or plan to this year; and companies like Facebook and LinkedIn are paying these kids thousands of dollars as interns.
2. More millennials are taking leadership roles – The problem Schawbel finds here is that this generation may have the tech skills to do a great job, but they don’t necessarily have the management skills necessary to make a team flourish and a company thrive. A CareerBuilder study found that 38% of the workforce is already managed by millennials and there are a number of issues: favoritism towards other millennials; an assumption that they know more about everything than their older, more experienced counterparts; and an overly defensive position when questioned about decisions. In 2015, millennials will make up the largest percentage of the workforce, so building these leadership skills is essential.
3. Honesty becomes a revered leadership trait – The Wolf of Wall Street notwithstanding, Gens Y and Z, by and large, believe in transparency, and they demand it from both their companies and the leadership therein. Citing a Millennial Branding study, Schawbel states that 52% of these younger workers cite honesty as the most important quality for being a good leader. They don’t just want to like their superiors; they want to be able to trust them.
4. The skills gap continues to widen – This is where the power of Gens Y and Z lies; they are more tech savvy than older workers and they can quickly adapt to new technologies. Here’s a troubling reality. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that although there were more than 4.7 million job openings this past June, more than half of employers couldn’t find qualified candidates…even from among those who are college graduates. Only 2% of companies surveyed were even recruiting Liberal Arts majors. Until more schools of higher learning promote more relevant courses and degrees, there is fear that this skills gap will continue to plague American companies.
5. The continuous job search picks up – If you remember the days where employees retired from the company where they first began their career, you’re definitely not a member of Gen Y, Gen Z, or even Gen X. Job hopping, which used to look bad on resumes, is now an accepted fact of life. Fully 86% of employees are already looking for work outside their current occupations, according to an Indeed.com study. In order to reduce this practice, companies will need to make the workplace much more than a ‘9-to-5, get-a-paycheck’ stopover; they’ll need to make the workplace engaging and offer the kind of perks that this age group will respond to.
6. Mobile hiring and the mobile job search explode – There is no question that mobile devices have transformed the recruiting profession. Younger workers are attached, 24/7, to their smartphones and tablets, so communicating with them on those devices is essential to attracting then to your company. Schawbel cites a study that finds that 83% of job seekers use smartphones in their search. On the downside, only 20% of the Fortune 500 companies have a mobile-friendly career site. So if you haven’t optimized your Website or created a mobile app, you need to do so quickly.
7. Social media posts used to attract and retain talent – When infamous 1930’s-era bank robber, Willie Sutton, was asked why he robbed banks, he supposedly said, “Because that’s where the money is.” If you want to attract younger workers, you need to be on social media, because that’s where the millennials are. Younger workers want to work for a company that uses social media to post relevant content rather than press releases and newspaper articles.
8. Succession planning becomes a top priority – The Boomers have already started retiring, so companies need to plan now in order to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership. However, Boomers rarely consider themselves ‘old,’ and about 65% of them expect to continue working for pay in retirement.
9. Women continue to seize power positions in the workplace – The younger generation of women simply does not accept that there is any difference in their contribution in the workplace versus a man and the decline in the wage gap shows it. Millennial women earn 93 cents for every dollar earned by men. It’s still not parity, but it is an improvement. What is most inspiring is that the top financially successful companies have 37% of their leaders as women.
10. More people stepping out of traditional career paths – More people than ever are freelancers; some are happy with this arrangement, some are not. But the reality is that companies are hiring more temp workers to keep their overhead down. For some workers, especially younger workers who have a more entrepreneurial leaning, freelancing offers them freedom and the ability to make their own success. The Internet has made finding these temp positions easier than it ever was and that also is contributing to the growth of this career path. Schawbel cites a study that found that 53 million Americans, or 34% of the workforce, are now freelancers.
Predictions may not always pan out, but it’s a relatively safe bet that the ten listed above will actually be the primary workplace trends, not only for 2015 but for years to come. This generational change is occurring at the same time that technology is speeding ahead. Generation X, Y, and Z are the future of business…and that’s another prediction you can count on.
Read the full article here.