Are you prepared for a new generation reshaping the workforce?

The business environment now consists of as many as five generations – all with different demands, desires and aspirations of their own. According to research, by 2028, Millenials and Gen Z will make up 58% of the workforce, an increase of 38% from 2019. Organisations must, therefore, make innovative efforts to manage the changes these generations bring with them in order to stay not only competitive but relevant.

Who are the Millennials and Gen Z?

Generally, Millennials are referred to as those who are born between 1981 and 1996. In a claim made by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in 2012, it was said this generation is likely the most studied generation in history.

Generation Z refers to the generation that was born between 1996-2010, following the millennials. Those in this generation are the ultimate technology natives, due to being raised on the internet and social media.

What are Millennials and Gen Z looking for in the workplace?

In the third annual Future Workforce Report conducted by Upwork, four major ways in which Millennials and Gen Z will motion change in the workplace were found. Based on four core elements; remote working, freelancing, self-development and future proof strategies, the report found a major divide between baby boomers and Gen X, with millennials and Gen Z.

  • Support for remote work

Baby Boomers have been known for keeping their employees close whereas Millenials and Gen Z desire a more flexible work environment. These younger generations, in fact, don’t recall a time when technology didn’t allow them to work where and when they wanted to.

According to the study, younger generation managers are 28% more likely than Baby Boomers to use remote workers and expect that within the next three years, two out of five full-time employees will be employed remotely. By 2028, the study projected that 73% of all teams will have remote workers.

For many organisations, enabling remote work can be a worry, raising the many questions such as where and what boundaries should be in place. However, we can guarantee putting a remote working strategy in place will pay off, and easier than you might think – check out our complete guide to remote working by following this link.

  • Need for reskilling

With the rapid advancements in technology, it does not seem viable to replace workers who lack the right skills. Almost all managers in the study agreed that reskilling is important in business. The report did reveal however that there is a generational divide on the best approach.

According to the research done, younger generation managers are far more likely to believe in a more independent workforce approach; compared to Baby Boomers, the younger generations are nearly three times more likely to say that individuals should be responsible for their own reskilling. This statistic is in contrasts to Baby Boomers again, where 9 in 10 believe the onus is on the employer when it comes to reskilling.

Workers must embrace the fact that they will need to proactively look for self-development and training schemes so that they can effectively and efficiently perform a variety of tasks needed for their work.

  • Planning ahead and embracing an agile future

While these younger generations have been stereotyped as the work-shy generation and as “reactive” rather than “proactive,” 52% of the younger generation continues to rate future workplace planning as their department’s highest priority – almost three times more than Baby Boomers. Indeed, it was found both Millennial and Gen Z managers are more likely to have made significant progress in creating a flexible talent strategy than Baby Boomers, as well as invested in technology to support the remote workforce

With the vast range of technology solutions available these days, managers are beginning to look more closely at cloud-based software such as Microsoft 365 to help them embrace an agile future. This is due to the fact that Microsoft 365 is cloud-based, allowing employees to work remotely, gain insights, plan ahead, and develop stronger connections between teams wherever they are in the world, on whatever device they prefer.

  • Utilising freelancers

Surprisingly, while these younger generations may be placing their focus on reskilling and building on their workforce strategy, they are not planning on adding to their full-time staff the report found. According to the report they are twice more as likely than Baby Boomers to contact freelancers for on-going, strategic partnerships across multiple projects vs. one-time, one-off projects. The primary reasons for this involve increasing productivity, access to specialised skills and how it helps to drive cost efficiencies.

This shift does not appear to show any indication of slowing down, with the study estimating that by 2028, non-traditional, flexible talent such as freelancers and agency staff will account for 24% more of departmental headcount, compared to when they surveyed in 2019.

With the majority of Baby Boomers moving closer to retirement, Millennials and Gen Z-ers will gradually dominate the workforce and embrace new positive ways of working as they come. “There are a many misconceptions about younger generations in the workforce today,” commented Matthew Mottola, Future of Work and On-Demand Talent Program Manager at Microsoft. “We frequently hear things like lazy, entitled job hoppers. But nothing could be further from the truth. In my experience, Millennials are equally, if not more, committed to their work. But we expect more from our company. We expect to architect our careers according to our lifestyle and our passions. With the various opportunities our generation has at their fingertips – freelancing, remote work, entrepreneurship – companies can no longer assume our generation will settle for the status quo. The good news for companies is that if they embrace this agility and flexibility they can drive innovation and change with their organization.”

Every new generation is bringing major change to the world of work. These new generations, which are technologically aware, expect independence, versatility and an ‘always-on’ functionality, and will gravitate towards the companies that provide it. To attract the best talent and stay ahead of the competition, investing in the resources needed to get the job done will pay off.

Microsoft 365 has been designed to be flexible and convenient by being fully equipped with the necessary tools which help a highly mobile workforce who operate across borders, do so productivity. It is a highly popular cloud-based platform, allowing instant communication and collaboration, document storage and sharing, and with modern security features – all for a competitive price that is less than you think. What’s more, buying your licenses off Serval IT Systems will give you access to a brilliant, available support team!

Please contact us for more information.