At no other time in history have we had people across so many different age groups co-existing in the workplace: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. By 2017, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, U.K. and the U.S. will have at least 40% of employees aged 50 and older. They are predicted to retire within the next 10 years. This mass exit will lead to a shortage of senior and skilled workers. The millennial generation will not be able to fill all the open positions left by the retirees.
To solve for talent shortages, many companies will undergo a “reskilling” of their workforces to equip the employees they have with the skills that are in demand. The map below provides a snapshot of where there are talent deficits and surpluses globally.
Beyond reskilling current employees, what tools can employers use to retain current workers and attract new ones? Recent research from Glassdoor found that “more than half (57%) of people said benefits and perks are among their top considerations before accepting a job.”
If companies want to remain competitive in a global market as the workforce becomes mobile and the pool of skilled workers is small, a global benefits strategy offers a core upon which to build. Companies should use a framework to build programs. Here are some framework options:
Supporting employees with the typical needs expected in different age groups or phases of life.
Offerings are determined and packaged less by age and more by early, mid, late career stage. Often age goes hand in hand with career stage but not always. In this approach, there may be more emphasis on employees’ work lives and less so on all the other aspects of their lives.
Programs are conceived, packaged and communicated so as to support employees at key times throughout the human experience with much less consideration to either age or career stage. For example, student loan debt is not uniquely a problem of millennials or those early in their careers. Welcoming a child into the family is not a life event that’s restricted to those in their 20s or early 30s. Survivorship benefits may be needed by an employee of any age.
This framework is relevant when the objective is to solve problems such as women’s advancement or accommodating the older worker who can no longer do a physically demanding job on the line but still has much to offer. A specific population approach would also be useful, for example, in a world region where there are significant difficulties recruiting mid-level managers.
In some industry sectors where competition for talent is high, the benefits and perks offered by one company heavily influence what others make available. Even in an ‘arms race’ situation such as this, the company should consider the impact it will have on the generations within your workforce before adding a benefit.
For additional guidance on developing a multi-generational workforce benefits strategy, see the Full Report (open to Global Business Group on HealthSM members only).