It comes as no surprise that in the last 50 years a lot has changed around the world, and with that a lot has changed in the workplaces within organisations around the world. Without these changes, growth wouldn’t have happen and on the more negative side, the market crashes wouldn’t had happened.
Yet through the thick and thin, change is important within the world and organisations. It is needed to keep us thinking, keep us on our toes and keep us growing.
In this article, the first for the My Organisational Behaviour Blog, we will explore the eight main workforce trends which are affecting businesses all over the first world. These examples are mainly taken from the British workforce, but when looking at countries such as the United States of America, Canada and Germany, the trends are much the same.
An Ageing Workforce
The birth rate in Britain has decreased with last year “just 698,512 babies were born, down from 729,674 the year before”. Although this doesn’t seem like a massive problem, the effect of decreasing birth rates means that workers have to continue working for longer to support themselves and the economy. This in turn leads it to being harder for the younger generation to get jobs, as people are not retiring at the standard age set by the government.
This article from the Telegraph paints a good picture of why this is a challenge for organisations;
An ageing workforce creates significant challenges for employers, especially around how to control the cost of benefit provision for this group of workers. Employers need to recognise that the benefits they offer need to be adapted to deliver to the needs of the whole workforce, regardless of age,” said Mr Ball.
A lot is said of older worker being less productive and less inclined to learn new skills. I can’t say I believe this, as it is dependent on the person and culture they are in, rather than the age they are labelled with.
Female Participation in High-Status Jobs
One of the best changes which is happening in organisations is the participation of females in higher roles. After years of women struggling in the workplace, we are finally in a position to see men and women both at the top of the bill.
In fact an article which was published a few years ago on The Telegraph’s website goes as far as saying that there are more women in higher positions than men now, however the pay is still not equal.
I’m a firm believer in that this shouldn’t affect an organisation too much, as men and women should be treated equal anyway, so the way an organisation is run hopefully already takes this into account…
Increasing Participation of Historically Disadvantaged Groups
Another change which is fantastic, is that disadvantaged groups have started to appear more in organisations. From racial problems to people with physical disabilities, there doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem anymore with everyone having equal treatment in the workplace.
With the higher participation of these groups, it translate into even better places, with David Cameron strengthening his business advisory group with three women and first black FTSE 100 CEO.
More use of Various Flexible Working Practices
Part-time, temporary contracts and zero hour contracts have all become massive in the last couple of years, with people preferring to try and fit work around their life, to be happier and more content. This changes the workplace in many good and bad ways.
Communication can be badly affected as part-time workers and temporary contract workers won’t be around as often, and as they aren’t there as often, they may not care as much, leading to communication problems around all of the company. As well as this it may be harder to keep track of which employees are in when, hence why most companies with flexitime still make it a requirement for workers to come into the office in-between at least 2 to 4 hours when everyone else is there. This allows any important meetings etc. to take place.
On the other hand, flexible working is said to drastically improve motivation as it allows people to have their own lives away from work.
Working flexibly has allowed Karina to be there for her children while also running a start-up business. It has also enabled her to keep costs down and save money during the first few months of setting up a business by not having to rent expensive office space and pay for the associated overheads such as gas, electricity or travel costs. Instead, Karina can work from home, a cafe or wherever she needs to be.
In many ways it depends on the organisation. But the research suggests that flexible working, works.