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: