Unveiling Age-Related Work Preference Myths

Unveiling Age-Related Work Preference Myths

According to a recent McKinsey analysis of talent trends, age-related work preferences are nothing more than a myth. Instead, employees of all ages tend to lean towards the same needs when it comes to work experience – mostly. It is the few caveats that separate the age groups and help unveil age-related work preferences. By understanding what employees want, you can improve your employee value proposition (EVP) and attract top talent.


Age-related Myths Debunked


Generation-based stereotypes are far from factual, creating unnecessary notions during the recruitment and retention process. The study found that worker attitudes and behaviors of Gen Z (18- to 24-year-olds), younger millennials (25- to 34-year-olds), older millennials (35- to 44-year-olds), Gen X (45- to 54-year-olds), and younger baby boomers (55- to 64-year-olds) are quite similar across the board with a few exceptions.


Reasons for Resignations are Aligned


The most profound similarities related to reasons for leaving a job, including:

  • Inadequate compensation
  • Lack of career development and advancement
  • Uncaring leadership

These reasons apply to both considering leaving a position and why workers have resigned in the past.


Recruitment Motivators Vary Slightly


Not surprisingly, the top two reasons people are attracted to a job is the opposite of why they leave:

  1. Adequate compensation
  2. Career development opportunities

These incentives are followed by meaningful work and workplace flexibility. However, age groups vary in how they rank motivators. While older employees rank compensation as the most important, Gen Zers rank it slightly less important than something like meaningful work and workplace flexibility. As a result, compensation alone isn’t enough and must be balanced with other motivators to attract different age groups.


Hygiene Factors Vary


Most people decide to leave a company because issues evolve over time. These issues vary across different age groups. Gen Zers and young millennials rank career development and advancement potential as the highest hygiene factor and Gen Zers place compensation as the least important reason to stay. Not surprisingly, compensation rises in importance with age. However, Gen Xers and younger baby boomers actually value meaningful work slightly more than their younger counterparts, with younger baby boomers ranking meaningful work right up there with compensation.


Age-Related Life-Work Balance


While life work balance is important, the reasons they are important vary by age. For example, workplace flexibility is valued by Gen Z because it allows them to travel and have a more active social life, while older millennials want to manage the demands of caretaking.


How to Improve Your EVP


By ignoring age-related stereotypes, you can focus on the things everyone wants:

  • Compensation
  • Career development
  • Caring leadership
  • Flexibility
  • Meaningful work


You can then adjust the emphasis based on life stages and individual preferences and manage retention hygiene more effectively using these strategies:

  • Put together the full package based on the most desirable motivators for the individual to both attract and retain top talent.
  • Create tailored work experiences that help accommodate age-related day-to-day life constraints that impact an employee’s ability to maintain work-life balance.
  • Create a sustainable workforce by nurturing positive experiences that facilitate career development at each life stage and foster employee growth.
  • Rethink the “where” and “when” of work to create more flexibility and improve productivity with more focused individuals.
  • Consider the “whys” of work to enable employees to be more purposeful and coordinate their days and times for improved collaboration and connectivity.
  • Define the “whats” of employee activities to fine-tune where work should be performed based on whether it is synchronous for in-person days or asynchronous for remote work.

By casting aside misconceptions and understanding the nuances of motivators, you can improve your EVP. Attracting and retaining top talent across all age groups creates a sustainable, productive, and happy workforce.

Anexa helps create forward-leaning organizations that embrace nuanced recruitment and retention hygiene tactics. Check in with Anexa today to learn more about partnering with one of the best BPO companies in the market.