How can you ensure that your accountancy firm is an attractive place to be for the next generation of leaders?
For those of us who were born deeply in the last century we understand how you might think that members of the population born between 1997 and 2012 (or Generation Z) must still be in nappies. But, we’re sorry to break to you that some of this generation is already represented in our workforce and there’s plenty more to come.
And, as we know you’re a forward thinking kind of leader in accountancy, we’re sure you’ll want to start considering what kind of workplace values this generation will be looking for as they decide where to lend their skills in what looks like it will still be a candidate led market of the future.
The childhoods of this generation have been jam packed with political, cultural and environmental changes galore and the world they have entered and the time they have entered it will have shaped their view of what work could and should look like.
Generation Z have been taught to be unashamedly themselves so you can expect this generation of employees to be a rainbow of personalities, beliefs, religions, sexual preferences, genders and more. This generation won’t allow themselves to be excluded from an opportunity because they’re choosing not to walk the most popular path in life. And this is something that modern practice needs to be ready for.
The great news is that you can expect future clients to be made up of people with a similar tolerance and appetite for true diversity and this perfect match will mean that there’s really positive systemic change starting to develop in practice.
To ready your organisation for the needs of this future generation you’d be wise to be up-skilling your leaders in all aspects of equality and diversity and ensuring that your internal policies are perfectly poised to compliment this emerging workforce.
Generation Z place significant value on corporate responsibility. This is the generation who will start to truly feel the impact of climate change and you might argue that they are the first to not have benefitted directly from the consumerist society that has caused much of the problem. This generation have had to pay for their university education, they will find it much harder to get on the property ladder than their parents or grandparents will have done and the decisions around bringing their own families into the world will be more complicated than that of previous generations.
So they’ll rightly value working for a firm that’s at the very least not continuing to contribute to environmental instability and at best is doing its bit to reduce the impact of rising global temperatures.
They also want to see profit making firms giving back to their communities. With these points in mind developing a really strong corporate responsibility programme will stand you in good stead when it comes to attracting this crowd of accountants.
Finally this is the generation that will value flexibility above all else. This generation might have seen their parents struggle to maintain any kind of work life balance or they might have already entered roles that are benefitting from the workplace revolution brought about by covid!
Either way this generation knows that flexibility is not an impossible offer for workplaces to provide and they’ll see, with perhaps much more clarity than any of us in older generations, that technology means the sky is the limit when it comes to working smarter as opposed to harder.
We’ve talked a lot about why we think firms should be embracing some kind of hybrid model of working in order to attract the very best talent and in the future we’re sure this will be even more important.
‘The young talent we’re seeing emerging is ambitious, creative and confident that they have plenty to offer firms that need to adapt the way that they do things in order to thrive. We’re huge believers in the value of a multi-generational workforce and we’d encourage firms that haven’t recently thrown open the doors to younger workers, that now is the time. The best thing about generation Z is that they’re open to helping their employers develop systems to improve the diversity, corporate responsibility and flexibility that they so value- what better way to get future generation ready than to do it alongside the people who will propel your firm into further generations to come!’
Garry Howling, MD
If you think you could be doing more to future proof your firm or you want to discuss how you can inject some modern culture and values into your workplace, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in our employer’s hub. Here’s a few articles to get you started.