Another key discussion in the Tech industry, and the workforce at large, is around the differences between generations. There is a school of thought that states different generations have different motivators and priorities at work, and need to be treated differently in the workplace. However, once again, our data suggests that demographics aren’t necessarily the key differentiator.
To examine age group differences, we broke the data down into 18-30-year- olds, 31-50-year-olds, and 51+-year- olds. Much like the other comparisons we’ve drawn between gender and employment-type, we found very little discrepancy between what people at different age brackets wanted out of their roles. Work/life balance, challenges, variety of work, and flexible hours all featured prominently across every age range. Most differences in the way that each generation approached their work had more to do with lifestyle changes outside of work, and the fact that age and career development are linearly correlated, rather than any specific attitude to employment.
For example, those in the 51+ age bracket placed the lowest importance on salary out of all of the generations, because they’re most likely to be already well into their careers and have reached their peak in terms of earnings. Whereas the 18-30-year- olds valued career opportunities the most, as that’s what they need most to progress their careers. However, our survey also highlighted a number of issues with the assumptions that are often made about the market.
There is a significant amount of discussion, especially in the IT sector, about young professionals being more willing to move and take on
several different roles in a short space of time. However, according to our data, the 18-30 bracket wasn’t any more likely to move jobs than either of the others. In fact, most of the numbers were fairly comparable, with the 31-50 bracket being the highest when it came to the percentage of people currently looking for a new role.
Additionally, those at the younger and older ends of the spectrum stated that it was harder to progress their careers than those in the 31-50-year- old bracket.
Another issue was highlighted when it came to salary satisfaction. Across the board, there was a fair level of discontent when it came to salary. However, the most dissatisfied group was the group to whom salary had the least importance: 51+-year-olds, 43.18% of whom stated that their salary did not reach their expectations. With the issues New Zealand faces in terms of the ageing workforce, this is a warning sign of sorts for employers, showing that experienced workers still need to be compensated fairly for their work, else they’re at risk of becoming disengaged. These older employees still have a lot to offer organisations, and it’s crucial that their skills and knowledge are passed on so future leaders can flourish.
One positive sign is the prevalence of flexibility across all generations. Amongst the 31-50 bracket, 79.81% were receiving flexible working hours – compared to 68.18% of 51+year- olds and 50.46% of the 18-30-year-old group. Considering that flexibility and work-life balance are top priorities for IT professionals throughout each demographic, it’s encouraging to see that employers are increasingly able to provide this.