What do women want? Or for that matter, what does Gen X want? At work, the answer is complicated. There are significant differences by gender and age in what both job candidates and existing employees expect, according to our recent survey, "2012 HR Beat: A Survey of the Pulse of Today's Global Workforce." The international survey results were from more than 1,500 hiring managers and professionals, and was designed to identify what matters most to employees and job candidates across age, geography, and gender.
Although Millennials — those people born after 1977 — get the rap of being the "Me Generation," they're not the only ones who ask for more benefits or more salary during the candidate stage, or once they're already employed. Here's how the numbers break down, and what employees are asking for:
This is a not just a U.S. trend. Around the world, 73% of companies have granted additional flexibility in work schedules.
The biggest, most pronounced differences we found were between generations:
The next biggest difference in our survey was that between men and women. Women want flexibility while men want money. This is true around the world, and true whether the person is a candidate or an existing employee.
Candidates are on social media; hiring managers and recruiters, not so much. Although over 60% of US adults are using social media sites, less than 50% of hiring managers and recruiters are using social media, with one exception: If the hiring manager or recruiter is a Millennial, they are likely to have identified or communicated with candidates using mobile, web, or social media. Baby Boomers are far less likely to use these tools to identify or communicate with job candidates.
Already, the inability to find top quality candidates is affecting organizations' ability to expand globally. A quarter of hiring professionals report hiring less than desirable candidates when hiring internationally. Because of this, about 40% use partners or other strategies to help hire locally. Another 25% have delayed expansion due to the lack of finding quality talent. The result is troubling:
So what does this all mean? What can employers do?
Provide choice. Clearly candidates and employees want different experiences and benefits from work. "Offering choices to the employees has broad effects back on engagement and productivity, on the overall experience for the employee," says David Smith, managing director of Accenture, the management consulting company. Designing for a "workforce of one," Smith argues, allows a win/win for both the employee and the employer.
Enhance your ability to reach candidates, who are increasingly online and on a mobile device. The Pew Internet Foundation reports that 17 percent of adult cell phone owners do most of their browsing online. New recruiting tools allow automatic individualization in marketing to candidates online at increasingly affordable rates.
Conduct a workforce analysis. Is your organization already comprised of a large majority of people within five years of retirement age? If so, what are your replacement strategies? Do you offer benefits that will attract your targeted talent pool?
Evaluate your benefits and build a recruiting strategy to match. Since Millennials want training and mentoring, do you have an attractive story to tell them? What choices do you have for working remotely or with flexible schedules to attract the women — and men — who ask for those benefits?
Now that hiring seems to be picking up, perhaps it's time to change your strategy from when employers had an overabundance of supply. Starting in 2011 and continuing for 19 years, 10,000 Baby Boomers a day turn 65, and the much smaller Gen X will not be big enough to fill their shoes. Attracting and retaining the best of talent through responding to their unique needs and requirements is one big step in having the talent you need for the future.