One of the largest generations in history is about to move into its prime years. By 2025, they will grow to represent 75% of the workforce. Millennials are poised to redefine the world around them; their perspectives will change the way we buy, sell and carry out business.
There are approximately 5,500 public sector organisations across the UK. This represents 5.4 million people equating to 17 per cent of current UK employment. Assuming that the public sector workforce is structurally similar to other sectors, based on 75% of the workforce being millennials, there will be c. 4 million millennials in the public sector workforce as we move toward 2025. This leaves us asking the question, how will the public sector respond to this new workplace demographic?
Millennials are unlike preceding generations. They view the world differently and have redefined the meaning of success, personally and professionally. Millennials have grown up with technology. They can tweet, listen to music and write a thesis simultaneously. Managers are not viewed as experts, because knowledge is at the fingertips of any Millennial with a smart phone. Rather, managers are mentors and coaches, helping Millennials plan their careers.
Deloitte's research on Millennials brings out four key findings, outlined below.
- Network of Teams - Millennials want to operate
as a network of teams, with people moving from team to team rather
than remaining in static, formal configurations. It's like a
Hollywood movie set – experts come together to produce the
movie, before being disbanded and moving on to the next
- Ways of Working - Millennials are more likely
to report high levels of satisfaction where there is a creative,
inclusive working culture and environment rather than a more
authoritarian, rules-based approach.
- Flexibility - The current level of workplace
flexibility is not consistent with Millennials' desires. 75% of
Millennials would like to start to, or more frequently, work from
home or other locations where they feel more productive. This is
nearly double the proportion that currently do so.
- Mentors - Millennials view mentoring as key. Deloitte Global CEO, Punit Renjen, comments "There is really no secret to success and there surely are no shortcuts. In my case, it was a pretty simple equation: hard work + some lucky breaks + great mentors."
These trends emanated from a private sector sample of Millennials, but will resonate with public sector organisations too. So what do these trends mean for the public sector and, in particular, their estates?
- Real Estate Leadership - Public sector leaders
must look beyond their technical real estate role and consider how
to integrate with other services. They need to be people experts,
role models and mentors, striving to get the most out of the talent
surrounding them. It is no longer enough for a real estate leader
to simply deliver the locations from which the business
- Workplace - The office environment must change
to meet the needs of Millennials. Employees' requirements are
no longer served by a desk located in the corner of an office. They
need a range of work spaces, including quiet working locations and
spaces to collaborate with their team. This will be important as
public sector organisations redefine themselves around networks of
teams, rather than by function.
- Technology - Digital technology and new ways
of working have a significant role to play in creating a more
productive, cost efficient working environment. Following
interviews with c.500 employees to identify different user groups
as part of its IT refresh, the Home Office provides different types
of devices to each user group. For example, more 'mobile'
user types benefit from the use of tablets rather than desktops to
aid more agile working. Initial analysis has revealed the Home
Office will benefit from less restrictive, more efficient workplace
- Talent - Real estate is becoming an important weapon in the war to attract and retain the best talent. At a time when civil servants are displaying low satisfaction with pay, the public sector can learn from organisations such as Google, which has designed a collaborative working environment attractive to the demographic it seeks to recruit and retain. Providing well-designed, collaborative working environments, supported by innovative technology can go some way to address this dissatisfaction and aid attraction and retention of the best talent.
This article only scratches the surface on some of the critical components of the future of work: the talent agenda, mobile and workplace technology, global location options and real estate. The resulting challenges are an interesting and constantly evolving pressure on public sector organisations.
You can read more about Deloitte's Millennial Survey at http://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/millennialsurvey.html
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