pie chartNearly half of young respondents to a KPMG study on generational relationships in the workplace agree that the presence of older colleagues hampers their careers and lowers productivity. The survey of 1,500 workers indicated growing tensions between Gen Y employees and those from the Gen X, Baby Boomer, older generations. This was found to be largely due to the increasingly longer tenure older workers are taking due to social and financial pressures.

The study found that 46 percent of the overall population feels that older staff members need to retire in order for younger talent to find the opportunities necessary for career progression. Approximately the same number also feel that a much older workforce reduces productivity while 20 percent find older workers beneficial to experiential learning. However, there is wide acceptance that workers need to stay employed for longer thanks to rising healthcare costs and two-thirds of survey participants think they will need to work until they die.

“An older workforce brings a wealth of experience and Baby Boomers can potentially adopt the invaluable role of coach or mentor to those entering the workplace,” said Robert Bolton, partner and co-leader of KPMG’s HR global center of excellence. “The companies who succeed will be those who take advantage of what older workers can bring to the table, in a way that is both innovative and inclusive. They will be the ones who can find a way for the Baby Boomers in their workforce to be enablers for the young rather than blockers.”

Most Generation Y workers (58 percent) are more content earning “enough” over striving for more, which reduces to 48 percent for Baby Boomers. Additionally, 55 percent of Generation Y respondents said that the level of corporate social responsibility of a company influences their choice of employer compared to 45 percent of Generation Xers. Younger generations are also less likely to attach themselves to a single employer for the duration of their careers.


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