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Exposing the age-old employee myths

New Zealand employers are evolving confidently when it comes to viewing both millennials and more mature employees equally as positively, a recent survey has revealed.

The Frog World of Work Survey conducted by leading recruitment agency Frog, questioned senior managers representing nearly 61,000 employees from New Zealand organisations that spanned sectors including: insurance, education, retail, manufacturing and not-for-profit, aviation, and property.

Nearly all (91 percent and 98 percent respectively) of employers surveyed viewed having younger and older people working side by side in their workforce, as vital to their business.

“How impressive it was, to see that we are bypassing the outdated stereotypes of both young and old. Where once Millennials - a term giving to those born between 1981 and 1997 - were assumed to be lazy or self-absorbed, and mature aged workers were often deemed inflexible or intolerant. It’s clearly an outmoded way of thinking,” says Frog Recruitment’s Jane Kennelly.

“Responses from leading companies confirm, we are hearing loud and clear, that both bring equally important and complementary skills and attributes to a business.”

The survey’s participants emphasised that millennials are a representation of our evolving population in New Zealand, and bring diversity to a business with their fresh ideas and confidence using technology.

“They balance the workforce and future-proof a business. We heard they are “new juice”; bringing energy to their work and are naturally more likely to be hard-wired to embrace shifts in technology,” says Jane.

Mature adults are appreciated for their skills, reliability, life experience and the stability they bring to the workforce. Respondents also pointed out that they bring a strong work ethic to the office, which creates an important model for influencing younger employees.

“Managers told us mature workers are respected by clients for their knowledge and experience. They often possess a ‘no nonsense’ approach and common-sense qualities that are particularly valuable in the workplace, especially in times of conflict or feedback.”

It’s a well-known fact that millennials are more purpose-driven than older generations. Many respondents said their younger employees were focused on sustainability, altruistic endeavours and community spirit. “New Zealand organisations need to build their talent pipeline of these thinkers,” says Jane.

Eighty-six percent of employers surveyed identified the importance of social responsibility, with more than half turning to their workforce to shape how or where resources are donated for social good. “While ideas will always trickle down from leadership teams, it was positive to see employers leaning more to their people, for input in social good programmes – because there is no shortage of information that backs up why this is good for business.”

While the mix of millennials and maturials has been identified as vital and valuable to a business’s culture, only 16 percent of respondents confirmed they have a dedicated recruitment plan in place to attract both generations to their work place.

“It seems we have broken through some of the fiction around age and stage which is very encouraging, yet it also shows we have more to learn and apply to ensure our future workforce reflects age diversity.”

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