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Workplace Trends: Welcoming the iGeneration into the workplace

24 February 2020

As the oldest of millennials (those born
between 1981 and 1996) are well into adulthood, a new generation of workers is
now entering and shaping today’s workforce. Born between 1995 and 2009, iGen (or
Gen Z) is the first global generation of digital natives.

For the first time in history, today’s
workplace is made up of five different generations working together – thanks to
lifestyle improvements, later retirement ages and earlier career starts. Unlike
the previous generations, these young people are experiencing the world of work
through this altered lens.

According to ManpowerGroup’s Talent
Shortage 2020 research, titled: Closing the Skills Gap: What Workers Want, iGen’s
are ambitious, hungry for cash and career development, yet already, women and
men have differing desires. Women rank pay twice as much as their next priority
— developing skills — while men say skills and career matter almost as much as
pay. As more tertiary-educated women than men enter the workforce for the first
time after decades of unequal pay, women know their rights and money matters.

For businesses, generational diversity will
assist with driving innovation, skill diversity, organisational flexibility and
the opportunity for strategic mentoring and skills transfer between
generations. Essentially, a multi-generational workforce will present
organisations with a competitive advantage in the ever-evolving world of work. Now,
what does the entry of this fifth generation of workers mean for workplace
trends in the near future?

are king

Many organisations may be looking to alter
their recruitment processes to be in line with the working generation’s needs,
as well as their own business needs. This could mean recruiting candidates
primarily based on capabilities and transferable skills, rather than work
experience and specific qualifications – as employability today is less about
what candidates already know, and more about their capacity to learn.

focus on development

Further to this, as the world of work
evolves and the lifespan of skills diminish, employers will be expected to
prioritise a culture of continuous learnability and skills development within
their organisations in order to nurture talent. Mentoring and career coaching
will also need to become a priority.

Not only will this support the personal and
professional development of their existing and future workforce, but ensures
that the organisation is flexible enough to remain relevant in an ever-evolving

on flexibility

With both Millennials and iGen’s looking
for jobs that provide them with the opportunity to have a flexible schedule,
more organisations will offer workplace flexibility in order to attract and
retain this talent for the long-term.


With more Millennials stepping forward into
roles that shape the future of work and working environments, and younger leaders
at the forefront of organisations, it’s likely that organisational structures
will begin to change. Junior employees will have more direct working relationships
with their senior leaders, opening the doors for two-way mentorship between
generations. As a result, there will be more opportunities for iGen workers to
influence business strategies in future.


Younger generations are increasingly
environmentally and socially conscious, and look to work with organisations
that prioritise purpose and meaning in their work – such as sustainability,
diversity, and inclusivity, for example.

Organisations are becoming more open about what they stand for and how their employees will be contributing positively to their business and communities; allowing iGen workers to make a more informed decision about the organisation that is right for them.

Press release

Lyndy van den Barselaar, managing director, ManpowerGroup South Africa

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