Aaron Hayward: Employment policies need to be reviewed in light of changing workforce demographics


By 2025, generation Y is expected to make up 75% of the workforce, according to the Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation’s Gen Y study, published in April 2011. If managers and business owners want to grow and retain the younger workforce, they will need to take a look at, and potentially change, their employment policies, particularly those around working hours, career progression and charity work, in order to cater to the younger generations’ demands.

Studies have shown that a key difference between generation Y and their baby boomer parents is the hours they are willing to work. While those in the older generation identify one of their strengths as their willingness to work long hours, their younger counterparts place work-life balance as their highest priority, and they get a lot less satisfaction from their work.

Work-life balance for the millennial, as generation Y is also known, is not the same concept as it is for their older colleagues. They have now adopted something called work-life integration, as the boundaries between personal and professional lives become increasingly blurred.

Another priority for generation Y has been shown to be making the world a better place. They have lived through 9/11, the Ebola crisis, and various other atrocities that have motivated them to give back to their community. Businesses that want to help employees fulfil this can offer staff volunteering days, or organise workplace charity initiatives.

Millennial employees do not want to be a faceless entity in a role. If they are feeling this way, they have no qualms about finding somewhere they feel will suit them better. Business leaders can combat this by explaining the organisation’s vision to them, and providing them with a transparent career path that illustrates their role in the wider business and how they can progress going forward. There have also been suggestions that business might develop in-between career steps that would meet the employees’ desire for career progression, and keep them motivated.

Aaron Hayward is an employment specialist at DJM Solicitors