Over the past couple of decades, a significant paradigm shift has become apparent in people’s work lives and professional priorities. The workforce available today, does not think, look or act on the workplace events and decisions as workforces in past used to do so. It does not even possess past trends of values and experience for pursuing their career.
New technologies in this modern era have changed the way of thinking in social as well as professional lives of the modern workforce. Today’s workforce faces a challenging environment in workplace where rapid changes occur and decisions are made quicker than as compared to past. Today’s workforce is highly diversified workforce that comprise of expert people from past generations and creative people from modern generations. The workplace competition is touching skies due to recent economic recession resulting in a large number of layoffs.
Generations comprising today’s Workforce
Today’s workforce is a diversified workforce that do not share one consistent set of values and beliefs. Because of such diversification is that the workforce of the modern era does not comprise of one single generation of people. It is a diversified combination of several generations which are mentioned below:-
Veterans are also commonly known as “Silent Generation”, “Traditional Generation”, and “Mature”. This age bracket includes people born 1925 to 1942 and are commonly referred to as the oldest lot of workforce and mostly are retired. Veterans faced tough social and economic conditions and were bound by strict social norms and inherited values. They faced critical situations of World War I and II. Veterans are habitual of obeying authority and respect and appraise managerial decisions. The traditional values of safe and protected work environment, security of their jobs, long term relation with employer and old age benefits etc. Veterans believe in showing complete dedication to assigned tasks of job and consider honesty, commitment and hard work as key to prosper. They have the firm believes in showing lifelong sincerity to the company and attain fame in society through dauntless relation with work. Presently they are facing great difficulties because of advancement in technology and ever increasing diversity in workforce composition.
- Baby Boomers
Baby boomer term used for the people born between 1943 and 1965 and currently are the largest unit of the workforce. They are born and raised in the era of tremendous expansion and growth worldwide. They set trend and milestones for the generations to come and follow their lead. They are competitors and strive hard to achieve their goals and competition among them is fierce as virtual large number of people are competing against each other. However the baby boomer have faced a dramatic change in social, economic and political upheaval in their adulthood time. The roles of the gender are redefined and women have become an active part of the society, advancement in technology has revitalized all the aspect of business and visibly shifted the trend in the direction of a global economy. Baby boomers are achievers and strive hard to achieve.
Baby Boomers part of today’s workforce are ones who strive for self-realization. Boomers joined or formed self-help activities in droves applying every fad administration program in the market in suspense that it would be a rapid fix they are looking for. Characterized by an assertiveness of self-immersion, an intolerant desire for satisfaction and a feeble sense of civic, Boomers are inclined to work additionally from sentiment and instinct than objectivity.
In the place of work Boomers are characterized as overachiever, strong willed workers who are apprehensive with and contented to their work as well as material gain. Their effort has frequently become their lives and a key to personal identities. All of they tend to be determined, eager to go for the extra mile with the slogan ‘live for profession’. On the work, Boomers anticipate reaching early and to leave late-night; seeing discernibility as the crucial to their success. However, in return Boomers anticipate corner offices, promotions, titles, and earmarked car parking.
Having outstanding communication and interpersonal skills, Boomer outshine at consent building, effecting change, and mentoring. They practice their keen obligation for teamwork and democracy to formulate task forces that accomplishes goals and projects effectively.
- Generation X
'Generation X'ers are the ones who were born from the year 1965 to 1981 and are ones right after Baby Boomers. Generation X is the 2nd largest generational unit of the workforce of today. Whilst the name ‘Generation X’ can be marked out back to the famous author Douglas Coupland who defined and described about late boomers while giving them the name ‘Generation X’, the universal usage of the same name can be credited to media who popularized the expression during mid-1990’s .
Xers were brought up mainly as ‘latch-key’ children in families with dual-income where their parents were engrossed in consumerism. Xers, therefore, got brought up teaching them what functioned and how it functioned as an outcome of this situation, they are an independent generation. Being pretentious by high divorce rate of their parents and incapability to stabilize their family life and work, Xers undertook never to do the same mistake which was done by their parents. Hence, Xers wish for good quality of life, supposing balance and most importantly placing boundaries on the contravention of work on their private lives while living by the slogan ‘live for life’ and not ‘live for profession’.
Growing up in the information uprising shaped the mode Xers think, learn, and communicate. Contented with the latest state of the art technologies, Xers have simply mastered the art of analyzing and generating the large amount of figures and facts compulsory in today’s workplace. As an outcome, Xers have been educated to value diversity in various facets of life like diverse nationalities, diverse technology, and diverse family gatherings.
Xers cultured early on that devotion wasn’t simply a two way street. They also understood that the start to end job security of past generations was to be left behind. Xers, therefore, deliver ‘just in time work’ while doing an excellent job in return for bosses meeting job demands for them. Xers assume to be capable to uphold career security and improve their marketability through exciting jobs working in which they continuously keep on learning. For this purpose, Xers pursue alignment with organizations that place value to their competencies while rewarding their productivity rather than permanency. They also get attracted to creation of a sense of common goals and objectives
Xers are practical, hardworking, determined to work, selfish, and resolute to succeed economically. As a group they are together saying ‘no’ to outdated management tactics on their jobs. They anticipate being considered as reliable to get the work done and want to be given the liberty and suppleness to set their own working timings for accomplishing their goals. They also want a technically up-to-date workplace environment, skilled, credible executives and co-workers, and executives who train and mentor in spite of micromanage and command.
Xers are well determined individuals, fiercely self-governing and anticipate their business spirit to increase the value to work related operations. To recollect Xer employee’s companies need to offer diversity, stimulation, and continuous change to preserve their interests. To motivate Xers motivation executives need to recompense innovation, make community displays of achievement, support individual’s growth, create openings for sustaining personal responsibility and team work and create a philosophy of fun.
- Generation Y
Generation Y is also referred to as Millennials’, ‘Nexters’, ‘Generation ‘Why?’ and also the ‘Internet Generation’. People from this generation form a significant part of today’s workforce; however, most of them have yet to enter the workforce of today. They were born from the year 1982 to 1994 and are considered the youngest group forming part of today’s workforce .
Generation Y people are between values and virtue of their predecessors. They are closer to parents than Xers and show more regard for community and religion and because of recent commercial growth are more hopeful and constructive. As an outcome of the circumstances they have faced, they are more confident and relaxed in their skills than all previous generations.
Generation Y grew up under the supervision of Generation X who were strict parents and gave ample time and attention to their children. This attention and time brought Generation Y people up to strong levels with a strong set of moral values. They all studied brilliantly and outperformed their predecessors in almost every academic field. Young people from this generation became P.H.D. holders and top scorers in various academic examinations. When these people join the workforce of today, they beat the Generation Y people in no time owing to their high caliber of intellect. The competition of Generation Y and Generation X increases the competitive environment in the today’s workplace.
Generation Y people are full with technological gadgets and use smartphones frequently for most of their digital needs ranging from music, games to social networking. They are most of the time seen using their handy gadgets like smartphones, tablets and other digital devices. They seem to be like people who can not live without these technologically advanced gadgets which were introduced to them by their predecessor i.e. Generation Y people. When these people join their workplace after completing their studies, they are more inclined towards creativity and changing the existing system. They often get negative feedback from the top management who are mostly Baby Boomers, but this negative feedback fails to hold them back.
Combined Workforce of Today
Today’s workforce is a combined workforce that has a little part of Veterans, significant parts of Baby Boomer and Generation X people whereas little part of Generation Y. The combination of so many generations brings many challenges for the top management of the organization. Never in the history of organization, has anyone seen such diversification in the workplace in which the consistent worker to creative ones are all under the same roof working side by side. To deal and manage such workforce is not an easy task in the modern era while fulfilling everyone’s needs. The combined effect of today’s workforce is complex to understand for which each of the generation’s characteristics are required to be studied. Even after such study, the ratio of each generation’s people in an organization’s workforce matters a lot. As an organization with higher ratio of old generations will have a more stable and consistent work environment in which collaboration is maintained to ensure the smooth functioning of organization. On the other hand, an organization with higher ratio of later generations will have more creative people who will strive to introduce new ideas and technologies in normal working of the organization. They will also not care much about the organizational growth rather they will put more emphasis on their own career and will eventually destabilize organization through switching to some other organization. People, who switch jobs a lot in order to pursue good career opportunities today, do not understand the consequences of their actions that are large and affect the overall conduct of business around the globe. Joblessness and shortage of manpower both coexist in this society due to this reason of job switching for better career opportunities.
Implications for Organizations
Organizations are coming to the conclusion by seeing such diversified workforce today that managing and retaining today’s generations has become extremely demanding. In the past, organization were functioning easily due to the committed past Generations; however, the Generation Y has greatly changed the way of organization’s functioning through offering their talented and multidimensional skills. They believe in ‘Master of all’ as compared to ‘Jack of all, master of none’. They outperform their predecessors due to which the organizations which are mostly controlled by their predecessors have changed their way of working to accommodate the potential of new generations. The diversified nature of today’s workforce has put new challenges to the top management of most of the organizations. Traditional management theories can not be directly applied to today’s workforce. New techniques of managing it are coming every day.
The effect of today’s workforce on today’s business conduct
With the changing workforce, the way of doing business is also changing greatly. Employers who wish to be in the market with good position in future are striving hard to keep their competitive edge while attracting more and more creative individuals from the new generations. A significant change can be experienced by the past generations due to the modern way of thinking of new generations. The combined effect of this diversified workforce has opened up new ways of doing business. More and more business are entering the digital world daily and conventional methods of doing business are getting unpopular day by day. Companies are forced to change their infrastructure to a digital one in order to accommodate the needs of the technologically advanced professionals of modern generations. New generations always prefer to join those organization that have state of the art technologies. This puts additional pressure on the organizations to keep their equipment and infrastructure up to date in order to attract more working professionals.
The today’s workforce demands good career opportunities from organizations and do not hesitate to threaten leaving the organization for better career opportunities. Such situation poses additional issues to the management of organizations who need to not only attract but retain professionals of today’s workforce. The top management don’t want to leave their seats for the youngsters whereas not offering them so demotivates the young lot and the result comes out to be switching of careers by the modern generations.
Today’s workforce demands extensive training despite the fact that they are already very much familiar with most of the high tech machineries. They have a strong desire to excel so they prefer to keep enhancing their skills through indulging in various workshops. Such scenario brings issues in a smooth operation of an organization that has to keep the cost of production to minimum whereas such workshops or seminars and trainings ad up in the cost of production. Organizations today try to get most out of these professionals of new generation in order to justify the trainings imparted to them and the extra expenses incurred on acquiring new technologies. Organizations today try to get most out from minimum workforce through utilizing automatic technologies in which most of the routine work is done by robotic structures.
Production and manufacturing industry the one that has gotten affected by the most after the IT industry due to the modernized workforce of today. Top management are amazed to see the potential of the modern workforce and often find themselves stuck up at an issue which eventually gets resolved easily by a modern generation person in no time. The main reason for such effectiveness and efficiency of the modern workforce is that they started learning to think out of the box from their childhood. Latest technologies and modernized gadgets are highly sold in today’s era due to which organization that produced such products have flourished greatly in recent past.
Companies today have manpower ranging from Veterans to Generation Y in which Veterans are getting lessened each day whereas Generation Y is increasing relatively. Top management can feel the pressure of managing today’s workforce while taking care of all of their diversified needs. Organizations from every field of life are facing same difficulties in managing the modern creative and competitive workforce including the IT, manufacturing and production organization. Traditional techniques for managing workforce are not effective for applying on the modern workforce hence the management of today’s organizations are striving to formulate new techniques of doing so effectively. There are fair chances that a new generation with most probably the name of Generation Z will be joining the workforce as soon as all the members of Generation Y will have already joined the workforce. The characteristics of Generation Z will further bring difficulties for organizations to attract and retain them as the trends from past generations have shown. Organizations today are always living at the edge due to the switching careers tendency of the modern workforce. The modern workforce need attractive job offers along with exciting career opportunities in which they may grow and enhance their capabilities.
Coupland, Douglas. Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. London: Little, Brown Book Group Limited, 2013. Print.
Savage, Sara B., et al. Making Sense of Generation Y: The World View of 15-25 Year Olds. London: Church House Publishing, 2011. Print.