Hiring managers need to offer flexibility

Beware the traps of age discrimination, says Bernard Salt

By Claire Heaney

Employers battling a skills shortage will need to be even more flexible if they want to recruit members of the baby boomers and Generation Y.

Social demographer Bernard Salt has urged small business operators to tap into the growing opportunities provided by an ageing population. He said baby boomers were embarking on what he called a "portfolio” lifestyle that would see them having an extended transition phase from the workforce into retirement.

Mr Salt, a business analyst with KPMG, said baby boomers would be sea changing and tree changing and pursuing a lifestyle that balanced work and leisure. Unlike earlier generations which left work at 65 and had limited time in retirement before they died, the baby boomers would never retire, he said.

He warned they would want very flexible working arrangements and businesses would need to accommodate that demand. Mr Salt said they would enjoy 20 good years of health and activity and businesses needed to look at providing lifestyle and health services for baby boomers.

He said Generation Y, born between 1975 and 1991, were the products of "rich, guilty and indulgent" parents. Many of them had both parents working and they had enjoyed good economic conditions.

"They would have got iPods when they came out in 2003," he said of the Gen Ys.

Often they were single children and could be the product of a broken marriage where they benefited from parents eager to please. As employees, they think nothing of quitting their job and heading off to London for six months and if that does not work out they will come home and live with mum and dad. "They want for nothing," he said.

Mr Salt said they would be more inclined to work for an ethical company.

He warned that in the workplace Generation X would be niggly because they felt Generation Y was getting everything their own way. But, he suggested, Generation X would soon get their own back as they would be the bosses as the baby boomers phased themselves out.

The Daily Telegraph

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