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The workplace is changing: workers are in short supply and they want more independence, more recognition and more flexibility to work from home. Is this a change of generations?

“Baby boomers lived to work, new generations work to live.”

According to Stefano Reno, a professor at the School of Industrial Relations at the University of Montreal, this is a clear result of the evolution of the job market over the past few decades.

Reno’s research program focuses on employee attitudes and behaviors, as well as the interrelationships between human resource management practices and employee engagement and content.

“Young people do not have the same expectations from work as young people Baby boomers and the Xers generation so, ”Reno said. – During their working life, millennials will work for seven or eight different employers, much more than in previous generations. Given the labor shortage, workers have more options than ever. And having more choice means they can be more demanding of working conditions. ”

Salary is important, but not the only factor

Since the early 2000s, Reno has been studying the impact of material rewards (salaries) and intangible rewards (working conditions) on voluntary flow in the ICT sector in collaboration with Sylvie Saint-Onge of HEC Montréal and Lucy Maureen of the University. Quebec in Montreal. Although they focus on one industry, Reno believes their findings can be transferred to other sectors.

Intangible rewards include all the non-monetary benefits that employers offer employees: independence, opportunity for self-realization at work, professional development and training, recognition, a satisfying work atmosphere.

Reno and his fellow researchers found that intangible rewards, particularly recognition, are the most important factors in retaining young employees, provided the job pays a “reserve salary,” the salary needed to maintain a lifestyle.

“In a recent study, we found that financial compensation attracts and maintains employees over the age of 40, but it does retain and not attract employees under the age of 40,” Reno said. “Interaction strengthens loyalty and encourages employees to stay. So with youthif the salary on the reservation is met, the more intangible rewards are offered, the less likely they are to leave. ”

Reno added that young employees are also increasingly concerned about the compatibility between the company’s values ​​and their own, especially when it comes to social responsibility, respect for the environment and transparent, ethical governance.

Working from home is a big plus

According to Reno, work-life balance is at the top of the list of priorities young workers. And working from home is one of the best ways to ensure that.

“It is in the interest of employers to offer employees the opportunity to work from home, even if there is no pandemic,” he said. “Keep in mind that autonomy is a factor in retaining employees, and the nature of work has changed. The workforce has become more educated, skilled and skilled than ever; we are no longer dealing with workers who must always be supervised by a manager. ».

Reno has found that working from home is beneficial not only in terms of personnel management but also economically, especially in times of inflation.

The balance of power has shifted towards employees, he said. “Workers will increasingly be required to work from home for reasons such as greater flexibility and lower travel costs, and employers will have to learn to trust them – especially in times of labor shortages when businesses struggle to retain employees.”

Is Quebec expecting a big resignation?

“Big resignation” is a term coined by American scientists to describe the wave of backwardness in the United States, which began in the summer of 2020. When a pandemic broke out and prompted people to rethink their priorities, employees who were dissatisfied with their work or their wages quit their jobs en masse.

Did it happen in Quebec? “It’s a fashionable catchphrase, but in a sense it’s pointless, because it describes a trend that has been around for several years,” said Stefan Reno. “In my opinion, the pandemic has only exacerbated the current situation with labor shortages and a large number of retirees. The job market is evolving, and the most notable aspect of the transformation is change employee expectations. ”

The “big resignation” is a trend that began before the pandemic, and the authorities need to get used to it.

Citation: The younger generation is changing the face of the labor market (2022, May 25) received on May 25, 2022 from

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