Kienco Blog

Strategic Workforce Planning, the Future of Work, and Workforce Analytics - Articles, Thoughts, and Updates

The number of employers you'll have in your career doubles with each Generation

We all know that it's rare to have one employer for life nowadays.  But how many employers are we likely to have?  Today I stumbled across some interesting research from Adam Kingl and Richard Hytner of the London Business School, and it came to the interesting finding that to date, the number of employers you'll have in a career has roughly doubled per generation.  If this exponential trend continues, this would mean that Generation Z employees will have around 32 different employers in their working lives.  Assuming a working life of 18 to 65, that means that tenure would average less than 18 months for this group.

Estimated Number of Employers in your Working Life


Another interesting outcome of the survey was the responses to the question "How long do you expect to stay with an employer?"  Survey respondents had an average age of 29, and responded this way:

Proportion of Respondents who plan to stay with an Employer for:

...In other words, 95% of respondents planned to be with an employer for 10 years or less; and 90% planned to be with an employer for 5 years or less.

This environment will be a challenging one for employers who haven't updated their workforce strategy since a career for life was the norm - or even those who expect current median length of tenure to stay static.  In the future it will be even more imperative to access the right talent, get their workforce up to speed quickly, and to preserve institutional knowledge.  There are opportunities, however, for faster innovation, and more diversity of thought and experience in this new world of work.

Employers and HR professionals alike decry the disloyalty of each new generation, and Generation Y has been the latest target.  Of course, in every other aspect of our lives we recognise that loyalty is a two-way process.  Each generation has seen an erosion of Employer Loyalty.  Many Gen Y kids have seen their parents suffer from retrenchment, restructures, or flat out being fired.  In March this year alone, almost 1.8 million people in the US were laid off or discharged (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics) - 1.27% of the working population.  And March was a good month.  If you're looking for employee loyalty, a good place to start is by being loyal to your employees.  That doesn't mean accepting poor performance, but rather ensuring that your workforce strategy, throughout the whole employee lifecycle, creates a workforce that is both high-performing, and agile enough to respond to changing business conditions.

Below is the survey presentation from London Business School's 2014 Global Leadership Summit:

Wearables: Hitachi wants to tell your boss how happy you are

Hitachi has created a biometric sensor for the workplace that will use your physical movements to calculate how happy you are, which should be available in Japan from April for around 100,000 yen (that's around $1,100 AUD or $840 USD.

The device uses your physical movements to impute a happiness metric, as Hitachi claims that they have been able to correlate physical movements with happiness.  We also know that there's a correlation between happiness and productivity - but in both cases, we don't know if it's causal.

I doubt that we'll see widespread adoption of these devices, but they could have some interesting implications for research - for example, whether a new office design, background music, etc. impacts employee happiness amongst a group of employees who have opted-in to the system.  It's one that may also be popular with the "quantified self" movement.  Would you wear one of these devices?


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Workforce Strategy and the Not To Do list

Workforce Strategy and the Not To Do list

Human Resources departments have finite resources of time, money, and focus.  When it comes to effective Strategic Workforce Planning, what not to do is as important as what to do.

Siri, Cat Videos, and the Atomisation of Work

Siri, Cat Videos, and the Atomisation of Work

Crowdsourcing may have profound impacts on the future of work, but it is really just another (tech-enabled) form of atomising the supply chain.  We've been atomising work for thousands of years, and Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations (1776) that influenced much of modern Economic theory made the case that the division of labour and economic progress are inextricably linked.  The difference with crowdsourcing is that the economic and geographic links between producer and beneficiary are less defined. (click on the post title to read more)