Intergenerational Workforces Series 4 – Diverse organisations perform better

Tony Devine, Managing Partner, The Grey Matters Network

Diverse organisations perform better.

Decades of research have shown that there is an inherent link between diversity and innovation, strong company values and psychologically secure environments. Within these cultures, authenticity and respect can flourish, allowing teams to bring their whole selves to work and perform better in an atmosphere of inclusion.

There are many reasons offered as to why this is the case.

  • Gender diversity: Most studies surrounding diversity in the workplace have found that for every 1% increase in gender diversity, company revenue increases by 3%.
  • Ethnic diversity: Higher levels of ethnic diversity increase revenue by a whopping 15%.
  • Job seekers: According to Glassdoor, 67% of active and passive job seekers say that when evaluating companies and job offers, it is important to them that the company has a diverse workforce.

We need to understand the implications of an ageing society.

  • Perspective: An age diverse workforce brings a perspective that is relevant to their generation. Very often this reflects the organisation’s customers. We now have a society where half the population will be over 50. By 2031, it is forecast that at least 32 per cent of the labour force in Ireland will be aged over 50 years, up from 26 percent in 2016.
  • Better together: The intergenerational workplace is the workplace of the future. For example, research data from Randstad, Forbes and Deloitte all support this belief.
  • Capacity: The older (50+) worker is the only growing cohort in the workforce. In Ireland over 50’s population will increase by 15% in the next 5 years. In a CSO publication from 2008 the relative growth of various age cohorts in the period 2011 to 2041 makes it very clear that there is a widening divergence between growth in our younger cohorts relative to the older groupings.Overall, the projected annual population growth up to 2041 is between 0.7% and 2%, depending on net migration and fertility. We are tracking towards the lower number based on the 2021 milestone. To illustrate, the 0 – 14-year age group will decline during this period (up to 2041). Meanwhile, the over 65 age group will have grown by 200% (over 65s in 2006 was 462k by 2041 it will be 1.38m)
  • Expertise: the mature employee can typically hit the ground running.
  • Reliability: The older worker has a reputation for being reliable and steady. They are a known entity; with a brand and reputation built over many years.
  • Relationship skills: As we mature, in general, our ability to relate to others improves.
  • Loyalty: The recently released LinkedIn Talent Trends survey provides data to indicate that baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1961) stay longer in their jobs. In fact, 18% longer when compared to the average. GenX (1962 to 1981) stay 22% longer while Millennials (post-1980) stick around 34% shorter than the average.


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