I recently read an article about the Lost Generation – the group of 16 to 24 year-olds who are not finding the meaningful employment they expected after finishing high school, college or university and even graduate school. Not to seem unsympathetic but throughout the course of history, plenty of kids graduate (or drop-out) and are faced with a job market that clashes with their expectations. Nevertheless, unemployment is soaring within this age group as they simply cannot find jobs or are accepting roles well beneath their education level.
We add to this labour pool crisis the fact that this recent recession has left many companies unable to meet their pension obligations, resulting in many seniors delaying their retirement and retirees now looking for employment to augment their diminished monthly income.
Set aside all the broken dreams realized by these two age groups, companies today are faced with a policy dilemna: how to manage four generations of people at work. In many organizations today the workforce make up includes Seniors (the over-50 crowd who may or many not be on the brink of retirement), Boomers (the 40-50 crowd), Generation Xers (the 30-40 crowd) and Generation Yers (>16-30 crowd, also sometimes called the Millenials)1. Wherever the great dilemmas exist, is where there is great growth. I wish I could remember who said that or where I read that so I don’t get sued. It’s a challenging time to say the least, but imagine working for the organization who figures out how to retain and engage legacy learning, create upward career paths and opportunity to create self-wealth, match wits with the today’s innovators while allowing for the social media expectations of the up-and-comers? It would be awesome, wouldn’t it? Kind of like sitting down for a big family dinner! Wait a minute…. Hold that thought, memo, email, twitter….
1 There are more generally accepted birth years associated with these workforce labels, I just can’t remember them!