Demographic Change - Generations Must Understand Each Other

05/11/2017

By 2020, over 50% of the workforce are expected to be Generation Y members who have grown up connected, collaborative and mobile, but how many are highly skilled in specific trades? As high-skilled workers from the baby-boomer generation reach retirement age it is likely to lead to large skill gaps in many occupations such as the construction industry.

With the average age of the UK’s labour force increasing over the coming decade, today’s largest age band of workers is set to shift from 44-46 to 54-56 by 2020.

Because people are living longer this means that they are working longer which means lifelong learning and training to remain active in the workforce.

Retirement at 65 is no longer the norm
The dynamics of the workforce are changing, age is just a number – the pension age is being pushed out, as people, especially skilled people, are working longer, the workplace is an ever-changing environment and it is more important than ever for the younger and older generations to work together. 

Every employee has different talents, perspectives and views and by 2020, we will see Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z attempting to engage peacefully in the workforce.  Although, personal values will differ based on age and culture a more diverse workforce is a major source of strength for a company.

Important demographic trends will take place in the UK’s workforce during the next 10 years, older people will be encouraged to work longer and companies need to understand the ageing mechanisms and respond to them – if they want to keep a strong talented workforce, because the working age population is expected to decline until 2050, and the retirement age population will be larger than the working age population in the next few decades.

Attract new talent and look after current workforce
The construction sector is essential for local and national economic growth but almost one in five workers is set to retire from the construction industry over the next 5-10 years and in order to keep up with housing plans it is predicted that the UK must recruit one million construction workers by 2020.

Targeting young people to follow a career in construction is a serious challenge
The construction industry must adopt a new strategy to engage with young people to attract them into the profession otherwise the industry will face serious skill-shortages which will have a detrimental impact on development and the industry.  The industry must overcome prejudices which young people may currently have about a career in construction.

There will be no quick solution but it is important to approach schools, colleges and universities now.

Portraying a safe working environment, with training opportunities, career development and good wages is essential.  The government and companies need to invest in spending money to attract and recruit, by offering good apprenticeships, to target and encourage young people into the construction industry.  Every young person deserves a chance to learn a trade, become part of an active industry and play their role in the labour market.

The construction industry must do more to equip school leavers, as well as graduates, to prepare for work – where they are needed – and to make them aware of the various career paths they can take towards gaining secure employment in a promising industry.

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