The 4G Workplace

For the first time in history, there are four distinct generations within the working population: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and the emerging Generation Z. This means that businesses face a unique mix of generations that all expect, understand and thrive using different working styles.

A study called the 4G Workplace, conducted by Coleman Parkes Research and sponsored by Ricoh Europe, reveals how businesses are struggling to accommodate the four generations. In fact, more than half of those surveyed (52 per cent) said that their companies are failing to cater for the needs of a multi-generational workforce.

The survey was conducted in July 2015 and consisted of 3,352 respondents from across eight vertical sectors, including education, legal, utilities/energy, healthcare, public sector, retail, manufacturing and financial services. Participating respondents were from the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, the Nordics (Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark), Switzerland, Russia, the Middle East, Turkey and South Africa. 

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New workplace demands for a new business era

Generation Z have higher workplace expectations than older groups yet they will become more quickly frustrated, too. Salary aside, for Gen Zers the main attractions to a company are a work-life balance (48 per cent), working with great people (47 per cent), then flexible working hours, good perks and job security (all 42 per cent). Older generations not only demanded less from employers, their preferences also differed with job security being front-of-mind for Baby Boomers and work-life balance for Gen X and Millennials.

Why it's good to be different in the modern workplace

Although businesses seem to be lacking when it comes to meeting the needs of different generations, the good news is that workers of all ages embrace age diversity in the workplace. Almost nine in ten (88 per cent) think that having a workforce comprised of people of different ages is an asset to a company.