As the organisations evolve, they increasingly reflect their cultures, behaviours, strengths, ethnicities, generation or age gaps and several other aspects that make and break the organisations. The present research will be focused on the issue of generation’s gaps at workplaces and how much this is affecting the balanced diversity at working places with the context of Australia. The study will incur results and perceptions of different authors and previous studies to make a better understanding of the situation and issue.
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According to an article by Big Think Edge (2019), each year there are millions of workers enter as the workforce to the organisations and some retire which is now enhancing the generation gaps at organisations. At the same time, Hood (2019) has also stated that the generation gaps will increase and till 2025, millennials will make up around 75% of the workforce. It may also be seen that the employees from older age groups found it difficult to adapt to changes that the younger generation is bringing about. Another major criterion that affects older generations is disagreement to the previous methodologies and techniques as youngsters search for fast and smart ways to complete tasks with innovation and research.
Festing and Schäfer (2014) conducted a study to analyse the generation challenges in training and development of the employees and they found that the relationship is supposedly moderated with generation effects in accordance to the social exchange theory perspective. The results predicted that the gaps in generation X and Y are viable and affects talent management at the workplaces. Adding to it, Cogin (2012) concluded that definitely, the HR initiatives intents at enhancing the quality of life of the employees but this is the factor that varies for them with variations in generations. Workplaces are becoming increasing age-diverse and there are more likely chances that the older employees had to report to younger managers. The research also found that there are 58% chances of conflicts between younger and older professionals.
A study by Benson and Brown (2011) to demonstrate the differences among the generations at workplace depicts that from the human resource perspectives, the inter-generational difference exists among the workers at most of the workplaces and is a major challenge for the management to sort out the things and make better results. The author also explains and illustrates the factors like job satisfaction, organisational commitment and willingness to work in groups concerning the different generations and results are almost same as to others. Korn (2010) supported the previous researches and stated a second perspective on the generational differences in diversity at workplace and says that this is one of the crucial challenges in front of the HR management in countries like Australia, USA, UK, India where the new generations are entering in professional jobs and increasing the rate of their generation in workforces.
The major issue occurs when they wish to learn and forces older generation employees to learn new things for the betterment of the firm to gain better results. Current statistics depict that the rate of difference between generation X and Y is increasing with the latest trends, innovations and advancements in technologies and even because of the large pay to long experienced employees (Joshi, et al. 2010). Researchers underlined several organisational challenges concerning diversity like gender equality, culture and ethnicity, communication and language but many answers need to be work on in the content of generation gaps at workplaces (Joshi, et al. 2010). Griffiths and Wood (2019) said that countries like Australia are facing a severe issue of a generation gap at workplaces which they want to avoid. They said that the wealth gap between the older and younger employees has also increased as they have worked in safer environments than ever in comparison to the present generation workers (shown in the figure). The economic growth is full of troubles in any country and in the case of Australia it has been found that the old are spending more on essentials but the catch is young is spending more on non-essentials.
Figure 1: Wealth gap between old and young
Source: [Griffiths and Wood, 2019]
Article on The Conversation (2019) also supports the concerns of age differences at workplaces in Australia and hence forces and shares a view that managements need to work on solving this concern as soon as possible so that they can work on growth rather than on internal management. Studies also suggest that young generations have to live in low standard conditions that their parents despite high-tech technologies and advancements. It might be seen as a fact or a myth that the young generation is spending more on habits and lifestyle which degrades their wealth (Grattan Institute, 2019).
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According to Mccrindle Research (2018), like many other developed nations, Australia is also facing rapid ageing of their population and this is one of the most devastating factors that change the work cultures and diversity at workplaces. In 1976, the median age was 28.3 which is 36.2 at present in Australia and the next decade it will cross 40 years. Companies are attracting young people to recruit and work for them for betterment and innovation minds which create a partial situation for presently working and older individuals searching for jobs in countries like Australia. At the same time, research says that just focusing on generation Y could not solve the problems as in the ageing population, accommodation of older workforce’s needs the right flexibility and additional safety and healthcare services.
Morris (2019) concluded that in the age of digital disruption, generation gap and diversity at the workplace is the biggest challenge for most of the employers and HR managers. They are searching for solutions for closing this generation gap and make a right balance in their workforces segmented into Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials. Generation Y and Z need to work on a collaboration, needs effective mentoring, respect for other’s cultures, language, ethnicity etc. to make future sustainability at the workplace. This might be seen as the solution to resolve the conflicts among diverse generation employees and hence attain amusing results.
Daft, et al. (2010) has given a theoretical perspective of organizational culture and design and said that defining a better working environment needs effective culture, environment and most importantly balance in the workforce. The diversity and leadership in a changing world have also been changed concerning the changing needs of the employees and the generation’s ways of working within an organization. An effective organization needs experience as well as an innovation which is only possible when there are older as well as young people working for the same common goals of the organization. Eagly and Chin (2010) say that there are a lot of millennials who are confused to make an effective workforce or rather work as an owner of a new business. The deal, et al. (2010) addresses that the importance of the contexts for understanding the organisation’s behaviour and the generation gap is a crucial concern for making success. The research discusses the new directions to the generational differences that can help both practitioners and people working in the business.
According to James, et al (2011), the news of early retirement trend has been reversed and older workers are planning to work more because of increasing inflation rates and cost of living. So, managers need to encourage and make suitable arrangements for job conditions and this age differences in the workplace. According to social engagement theory, several aspects affect job quality and employee engagement but one should not neglect the diversity at workplace especially in terms of generation gaps.
Overall, it can be concluded that the concern of increasing generation gaps at workplaces is increasing exponentially and there is a need to resolve this issue at priority. The aforementioned study defines some most specific details regarding the subject of a diversity issue at the workplaces and it has been found that most of the researches and results by previous studies and philosophies make sense that this gap is increasing and challenges are integrating. The report includes statements by several journals and academic sources which clinched a view that there are high probabilities that conflicts may arise due to generation gaps in countries like Australia. While, at the same time, the results say that young people are spending more on their non-essentials which makes them financially unbalanced in comparison to older people employed years ago. So, there is a need to mark some effective solutions to the problem and balance the professional working environments for diverse range (generations) of people.
- Big Think Edge, 2019. Diversity in the Workplace: 4 Common Challenges and Solutions, (online) available at https://www.bigthinkedge.com/diversity-in-the-workplace-4-common-challenges-and-solutions/ last accessed on 20th August 2019.
- James, J.B., McKechnie, S. and Swanberg, J., 2011. Predicting employee engagement in an age‐diverse retail workforce. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 32(2), pp.173-196.
- The deal, J.J., Altman, D.G. and Rogelberg, S.G., 2010. Millennials at work: What we know and what we need to do (if anything). Journal of Business and Psychology, 25(2), pp.191-199.
- Hood, A., 2019. 7 Biggest Diversity Issues in The Workplace, (online) available at https://www.thiswayglobal.com/blog/top-diversity-issues-in-the-workplace/ last accessed on 20th August 2019.
- Daft, R.L., Murphy, J. and Willmott, H., 2010. Organization theory and design. Cengage Learning EMEA.
- Eagly, A.H. and Chin, J.L., 2010. Diversity and leadership in a changing world. American psychologist, 65(3), p.216.
- Griffiths, K. and Wood, D., 2019. Australia is facing a real generation gap of the kind we can’t possibly want, (online) available at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-19/young-australians-financially-worse-off-than-older-generations/11425428 last accessed on 20th August 2019.
- The Conversation, 2019. Articles on Generation gap, (online) available at https://theconversation.com/au/topics/generation-gap-13174 last accessed on 20th August 2019.
- Grattan Institute, 2019. Generation gap: ensuring a fair go for younger Australians, (online) available at https://grattan.edu.au/report/generation-gap/ last accessed on 20th August 2019.
- Mccrindle Research, 2018. New Generations at Work: Attracting, Recruiting, Retraining & Training Generation Y, (online) available at http://www.libraries.vic.gov.au/downloads/Public_Libraries_Unit/newgenerationsatwork.pdf last accessed on 20th August 2019.
- Morris, A., 2019. How to close the generational gap in the workplace, (online) available at https://insightsresources.seek.com.au/market-insights/how-to-close-the-generational-gap-in-the-workplace last accessed on 20th August 2019.
- Benson, J. and Brown, M., 2011. Generations at work: are there differences and do they matter?. The international journal of human resource management, 22(9), pp.1843-1865.
- Festing, M. and Schäfer, L., 2014. Generational challenges to talent management: A framework for talent retention based on the psychological-contract perspective. Journal of World Business, 49(2), pp.262-271.
- Cogin, J., 2012. Are generational differences in work values fact or fiction? Multi-country evidence and implications. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(11), pp.2268-2294.
- Korn, K.J.M., 2010. A second look at generational differences in the workforce: Implications for HR and talent management. People and Strategy, 33(2), p.50.
- Joshi, A., Dencker, J.C., Franz, G. and Martocchio, J.J., 2010. Unpacking generational identities in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 35(3), pp.392-414.
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