Change your recruitment
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”, the candidate asked the recruiter. Yes, you read that right. The tables will flip soon, and here’s why. More and more employers are struggling to attract talent into their organizations. Both in the USA and the EU, unemployment rates are steadily declining in spite of the current recession . The perspective of structural employee-shortage looms over many organizations, unable to offer any structural solution to their recruitment challenges.
The reasons for this lack of new colleagues are twofold. On one hand, it’s about a structural shortage of available and educated personnel. Coming years, the number of people exiting the labor market (people retiring) will be booming . The number of people entering the labor market is a lot lower . With more demand for work and a shrinking supply, shortage is imminent.
But the second effect is much less known: The workforce is becoming younger. And we mean: a lot younger. While the number of people retiring is rising rapidly, the number of employees between the ages of 45 and 65 is shrinking, and the number of people aged 25 to 45 is increasing. So not only is the older group disappearing, the middle aged group is shrinking as well. So much so that by 2030, Generation Y & Z will make up the majority of the working population.
And that’s a different ballgame. Unsurprisingly, this is prompting organizations to engage in expensive recruitment campaigns aimed at younger generations. Here’s the thing: a recent study found that almost half of Gen Z and millennials would rather be unemployed than unhappy in a job, compared to 25% for previous generations . The same study suggests that employers’ desperate attempts to offer big bonuses and copious employment benefits won’t necessarily cut it.
Of course, these generations expect a decent salary: it’s a hard precondition. It is not a satisfier, but especially a dissatisfier if it is not properly arranged. It is a precondition for living decently and leading a normal life. They want flexible working models and their performance to be evaluated on results rather than hours worked . However, they know that they are scarce and have plenty of job offers. A car or a 10% bonus may not sway young talent even towards the most generous employers. Instead, employers should offer a job that (in addition to being well-paid, obviously) contributes to a better world. Young people do not want to compromise their personal values when choosing an employer .
Work on Change
Younger people have a deeper sense of purpose, and they want to bring it to the workplace. Their workplace is their battlefield for change. If you want them working with you, work on change. Work on your positive impact, your societal relevance, your organizational purpose. Without it, they will not even contact you. And, if you find yourself interviewing a talented person, ask them how climate change and a pandemic have affected their story. In return they will ask you: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”. If you want to stand a chance against other employers, you will have to explain how you are working on change, and really mean it.