Friday, 1 October 2010


Not defined by an age range, but by their survival ability - Welcome Gen “R”

The good news is that the worst of the recession in many countries is over; organisations which have resisted to its effects are now relaunching their activities and preparing to get the most out of the envisaged and wished upturn.
The financial crunch has definitely been particularly hard for people who have lost their jobs but, although in a pretty different way, it has not been completely smooth sailing for those who have held their jobs either.
The pressure caused by having seen colleagues made redundant and leave their organisations, has clearly left its mark and had a negative impact on “survivors” too. Employees who have been lucky enough to keep their jobs have, nonetheless, also experienced a quite particular grim “climate” and mood within their organisations.
With business obliged to tight their belts and downsize, the remaining staff have been required to: carry out an increasing number of duties and activities, take more responsibilities, work harder and in leaner and more flexible teams.
In such situations staff has then acquired and developed new skills, widened their competencies and build an optimistic feeling up.
More specifically, according to the findings of a study recently carried out by the Recruiter Randstad, “World of Work”, private sector staff who have emerged from the downturn are more confident about their future and perspectives. To the extent, that a substantial majority of them consider themselves being ready for leaving their current job, if any good opportunities should come along.
Even though the international recession has, by and large, made employees rather prudent and wary about considering changing their job, Gen R employees consider themselves emerging more motivated from the crisis. They also feel being more skilled and with the ability to perform work in different, harder situations, and able to adapt to changes.
Thanks to these features Gen R people represent an opportunity for employers but, at the same time, they could represent a potential problem as well if employers should not capitalise on their abilities.
To some extent Generation R people, who are, then, not defined by age but by attitude, are very similar to Gen Y in that it would not really be enough a mere salary increase to persuade them to shift workplace, they are, in fact, mainly interested in a proper career path, good training opportunities and professional development. This could arguably be related to the circumstance that during the last 18 months these employees have had little or no support at all and have realised the pivotal importance of having the opportunity to gain access to these benefits.
The research also showed that, basically, these people have experienced new ways of working and do not want risk going back to the previous working methods. They have acquired so many skills that it is expected that the competition to hire them will intensify in the incoming future; are, then, we going to assist, in the course of the next months to a “war for Gen R” rather than to a “war for talent”? This is anybody’s guess; nonetheless, “war” or not, it is very likely that organisations will try to lure these “upskilled” staff in the near future.
The investigation also revealed that, although during the last 18 months 23% of respondents had to cover additional responsibilities, because of businesses recruitment freeze, acquiring new skills and abilities, on the other hand of it, nearly 50% of surveyed employees claimed that they have been under-utilised, whilst 10% even said that, because of recession, they had to cover positions which did not completely utilise their skills.
Generation R optimism notwithstanding, employees fears for redundancy is not completely over. According to the findings of the “Protection Gap Survey”, commissioned by Abbey Legal Protection, in fact, 26% of senior managers and 42% of Executives, without management responsibility, still consider redundancy as the source of main concern in the working place.
Clearly, despite the more positive appearance of the economic environment, job insecurity is still rife amongst staff.
Much more confident seem to be CEOs, who currently consider the risk of making staff redundant quite far from reality. Just 5% of them, in fact, mentioned redundancy as a likely risk they will have to cope with in the incoming future, showing much more concern for tax investigation by HMRC (12%) and for the impact of bad health on workforce stress (11%).