Demography Is De$tiny Study
Today´s employers confront unprecedented demographic challenges. As the baby boom generation migrates into their later years, the workforce is rapidly aging and becoming increasingly diverse in terms of gender, generation, and ethnicity. As these changes escalate over the next decade, companies must adapt to these key shifts to remain competitive.
To make sense of these dynamics, in collaboration with 28 of the world´s leading corporations and not-for-profit organizations, Age Wave and the Concours Group launched the Demography is De$tiny Study in 2004. This project included a comprehensive examination of population changes, changing worker attitudes and behaviors, and company best practices. The study identified seven major management challenges driven by changing workforce demographics:
- Recruiting and retaining young workers. Organizations must minimize young worker turnover, establish an employer brand that is attractive to young men and women, incorporate them rapidly into the organization, keep them engaged, and respect their desire for independence, learning, and rapid growth.
- Avoiding a “brain drain” by meeting mid-career challenges. Organizations must keep mid-career workers engaged, enable work-life balance, support career redirections, and manage a pool of “high retention” candidates.
- Transcending age bias to leverage mature workers. Organizations must embrace the value of recruiting and retaining mature workers, leverage their knowledge and organizational connections, and overcome regulatory and organizational barriers to make “flex-retirement” work.
- Embracing flexible work arrangements. Organizations must recognize flex-work arrangements as a necessary facet of a networked information age economy and customize work schedules, locations, and formats to engender both productivity and loyalty.
- Filling skills gaps and mastering training challenges. Companies must adopt multiple training channels to meet the needs of diverse groups.
- Aligning compensation, benefits, and other attractors. Organizations must enable all employees to achieve better work-life balance by making compensation and benefits clear, accessible, manageable, and valuable.
- Anticipating demographically driven labor shortages. Organizations must analyze how demographic changes are affecting them, anticipate and prevent labor and skills shortages, expand their sources of labor and skills supply, and prepare to manage a multigenerational and diverse workforce.
A blueprint of actions necessary to make organizations responsive to a transforming workforce was published for participating companies. Key findings were featured in the Harvard Business Review and received the first place 2004 McKinsey Award. The findings and implications were also published by the Harvard Business School Press in the book Workforce Crisis, authored by Ken Dychtwald, Bob Morison, and Tamara Erickson in 2006.