Gen X: born between 1965 and 1980
Millennials: born between 1981 and 1996
Gen Z: born between 1997 and 2012
We’ve all heard the lazy generational stereotypes; millennials are self-entitled job-hoppers who expect everything on a plate. Gen Zs have short attention spans and are addicted to their smartphone screens, while Gen X are bleak, cynical, and disaffected.
While those stereotypes are used more in jest and definitely shouldn't be the basis for hiring decisions, it does pay to take a more nuanced look at generational differences and preferences when seeking to attract top talent.
As competition for top talent across the defence industry intensifies, employers have been increasingly focused on their employee value proposition (EVP) to offer the right benefits to attract and retain the best talent.
The Kinexus Defence Industry Insights shows that there has been a considerable decrease in the number of respondents who do not receive any additional benefits; falling from 42% in 2019 to 32% in 2020. While that’s a good development for the industry on the whole, companies can’t afford to take a one size fits all approach when seeking to attract top talent.
EVP must be fit for purpose
Different EVP offerings and strategies will appeal to different skilled worker demographics, particularly across the generational divides. Defence industry companies seeking to attract a cross section of Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z employees will need to make their EVP offerings attractive for each of these generations.
For example, a recent Kinexus industry research survey of Defence-skilled candidates shows that there are different non-monetary priorities at play when comparing job attraction between different age groups.
‘Interesting work’, then ‘work life balance’, followed by ‘location’ appear as the top factors affecting job satisfaction for all age brackets except 23–33-year olds.
Respondents in the 23–33 year old bracket place ‘work life balance’ at the top of the list, followed by ‘interesting work’, then ‘development opportunities’.
These may seem like subtle differences, but when extrapolated into how companies shape EVP offerings it can make a huge difference in the type of talent that they both attract and retain.
More broadly, research shows that Gen X is more individualistic, millennials are more open to the idea of teamwork and collaboration than previous generations, while Gen Z are seeking a greater personalisation in how they move along their career journey.
While all of the above has merit, it’s important to ensure that the core characteristics of prospective employees align with organisational values to ensure a cohesive and successful workforce.
Organisations must ensure that all relevant segments of the workforce feel included and considered, and prospective employees feel welcomed. In addition to tailoring roles and benefits to suit generational preferences, it’s essential to adequately inform prospective employees of defence industry expectations as well as providing the necessary follow-up organisational and cultural training.
Attracting and retaining the right talent is vital to the success of defence industry organisations. The optimum approach for building an attractive employee value proposition varies across company cultures, skills sets and generations, but deeper insight and expertise in the area provides benefits across the board.
For more information on how to access our industry insights to form your EVP strategy, talk to a consultant at Kinexus.