By 2020, India will be one of the youngest countries in the world where the average age will be 29 years. There will be 63.5 million new entrants to the working age population (15-59 years) between 2011 and 2016 and the majority of the increase will be in the 20-35 age group.
These statistics were revealed by India’s Economic Survey 2011-12 and also the Human Development Report (HDR) published by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). While the rising demographic dividend in India offers huge opportunities, it also poses myriad challenges for organisations and the economy as a whole.
Organisations operating in India should be aware of the challenges associated with Gen Next who will comprise a significant majority of the workforce in the coming years. There are three major challenges that organisations at this point need to be aware about:
- Integrating personal aspirations of the Gen Next workforce with the organisational vision
- Retention and leadership development
- Identifications and modifications to existing people processes and practices
As opposed to the “one-size-fits-all” approach prevalent now, Gen Next will require tailored policies as their expectations and employment preferences are radically different from other generations. The generational characteristics and their consequent influence on organisations’ policies and practices will be noticeable in the future workforce.
In the CII-Deloitte, “Gen Next Workforce Study 2013” the aspirations, values and expectations of the Gen Next workforce were outlined. The study was conducted in the organised sector in some of the major Tier-I and Tier-II employer locations across India. The purpose of the investigation was to understand the characteristics of the various pools of talent and the steps that policy makers need to undertake to nurture and grow these pools for influencing positive outcomes for the economy.
The research revealed some striking data: The belief that Gen Next values work-life balance and employment type over everything else is not true. While these are important, other drivers such as rewards and career growth are on the top of the list of employment preferences for Gen Next. Interestingly, the study has revealed a significant divergence in the perception of rewards and remuneration of Gen Next and other generations. Gen Next reward preferences have moved away from long-term incentives towards more fixed pay, therefore showing their preference to not stay with one workplace for a long period of time.
The good news is that contrary to the common belief younger generations of the workforce might be very difficult to manage is not true. Perhaps the only real change organisations need to make is to accept and accommodate the unique preferences of the generation without looking at them as outliers.