Generational change - a big challenge in the coming years!

The Swedish labor market's companies and organizations face a major challenge in the coming years. The record generation that was born in the 1940s is retiring and in 2014, all 40 talents have reached the age of 65. In total, about 500,000 people will leave the labor market within the next three years. Parallel to this, large youth hills born in the 1980s and 1990s should make their entry into the working life.

Unemployment in Sweden is slowly starting to stabilize and much indicates that we have now seen the worst of the financial crisis's ravages in the labor market, even though youth unemployment is still too high. At least this applies to Swedish. At the time of writing, the crisis is very deep in both Greece and Ireland. The situation in several other southern European countries does not look much worse. Of course, there is a risk that this debt crisis will have consequences even in Sweden.

There is a great risk associated with the, in many organizations, oblique age structure for the coming major generation shift. The risk is that you will not succeed in replacing those who quit. The result is a reduction in the number of people working on a shrinking economy as a result. This threatens, among other things, future pensions and the welfare that those now leaving the labor market intend to consume during their time as pensioners.

Transfer of competence - from older to younger

Generational research indicates that the 40s and 50s are loyal, fulfilling and put great value in making a career by attaining managerial positions. In Västra Götaland, about one-third of managers in the public and private sectors are over 55 years of age. How can all the skills that these employees possess be replaced? How should the transfer of skills between older and younger go? Particularly interesting are these issues in light of the fact that younger generations do not have the same view of leadership and career as previous generations. Signs indicate that one does not strive for the traditional leadership of previous generations. Instead, family, friends and alternative career paths, such as various specialist roles, are given high priority.

New communication habits

How old were you when you first sat in front of a computer? When did you get your first mobile phone? At what age did you get your first email account? Do you use social media like Facebook and Twitter today? Depending on when you were born, your answer will of course vary. But consider that a 40-talist lived for 40-50 years before trying a mobile phone for the first time. An 80s talker probably got his first cellphone already in his teens. And a 90s talist may have had a cellphone since the low school! What do the changed communication habits of management, governance and working methods in today's and future organizations mean?

Work - duty or self-realization?

Research shows that younger generations look at work and careers differently than their parents do. Trust in authorities has diminished, work is more about realizing oneself and is not seen as a right or duty. Lightning fast communication and constant connection is a matter of course for these generations, loyalty to the employer is weaker and the gold clock is a bit of a deterrent and not a reward! Identity, image and social and ethical responsibility are becoming increasingly important. How do these attitudes and perceptions combine with the working methods and structure of our traditionally weighted organizations and companies?

Great opportunities

The requirement for generational change creates great opportunities for real development in our organizations and companies. Firstly, there are not so many people available. This creates a need to find new solutions and work methods to solve all tasks, which in itself frees up capital. At the same time, after all, many new people are joining the organization. These view the world in a different way from their predecessors and want to find new forms for their work. Together, three factors that are important prerequisites for development coincide, namely that the need, the will and the money available.

Attract young talents - and keep them!

The challenge ahead is to attract, retain and develop young talented people who will gradually replace those who quit. Employing branding and marketing you as an employer are key concepts in this challenge. But it is not enough just to attract young talents! How should you get the easy-moving younger employees to stay in the organization and take over the baton?

The key to success is to adapt all parts of the company to the new conditions. This means equipping the organization in areas such as governance, leadership, working methods and organizational forms. Generational change is a fact! It's all about acting now or later. And certainly it sounds better to act while you have control over the situation and time still exists?

Ekan is conducting a survey in the fall of 2010 with the aim of finding out how well-equipped Swedish organizations and companies are facing the generation shift and what challenges they see. As a starting point, in May we organized a seminar aimed at today's and future leaders. Anna Dyhre, current with the book Sustainable Employer Branding - Guidelines, Worktools and Best Practices, participated as an inspirational speaker.

Ekan takes this challenge very seriously and offers our services on these issues. We are management consultants focusing on change and results! In addition, we also work hard to equip our own organization for the generation change. We believe in the future! Do you?

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