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Mobility Challenge: Next-Gen Nuances

Anita Brienza, GMS - Aug 29 2018
Published in: Mobility

No generation is quite like the one that came before it, but there are some elements that never change: the desire for meaningful work and the ability to be heard and contribute, the opportunity to upskill and build one’s career, and the drive to be a valued team member.

In the mobility arena, there’s an imperative to focus on next-gen types to keep developing future leaders – and that means incorporating the nuances that are important to them into their career paths.

A recent Universum survey of 18,000 Generation X, Y and Z professionals and students from 19 countries found that all three generations share an increasing enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, but differ globally in their fears about the future of work. In fact, it noted that many younger professionals are ”falling out of love with the idea of working for a Fortune 500 firm,” and across generations, no more than 9 percent wanted to work for government.

Future of work apprehensions included getting waylaid by a job with no development opportunities, worry that a job won’t match their personality and values, and that the future holds job insecurity. To address some of these fears, companies can apply agile project management principles and incorporate “intrapraneurship,” giving employees the ability to work on start-up projects within the firm.    

Related: Mobility Leaders: We Need to be Faster for the Future

Empowering Mobility’s Generations

One big way to offer career value and development: mobility assignments. Companies and younger professionals alike recognize the value of assignments to their careers. In Worldwide ERC®’s recently published “Perfect Storm” report, Laura Rodriguez of Johnson & Johnson noted:

“If we’re truly creating a leadership pipeline, we want to foster multi-country transferees and start them early so their readiness is super-charged. It’s an accelerating experience for them and a talent initiative for us.”  

Fortunately, employers’ need to “super-charge” next-gen readiness dovetails with younger workers’ desire for global adventure. At New York University (NYU), it’s built right into the curriculum, says Robert Sanford CRP, GMS-T, who says the vast majority of the student body spends some time abroad, even if it is only a short trip; estimating that NYU sends 4,000 to 5,000 students cross-border each year and observing that as this trend continues in education, it will fuel further international mobility and more globally minded, diversity-friendly workers.

Overall, younger generations—and GenZ in particular—are sharing-intensive groups with extensive networks. An aversion to financial commitment (many younger individuals carry significant student debt), an expectation of transparency in transactions, and a leaning toward frugality also factor into the way they make choices. Mark Frederick, PhD, Global Talent Management Consulting said that the disruption occurring in the global business environment “might be giving some sectors of our industry heartburn, but it’s not going to go away anytime soon. Especially as GenZ gets into the mobility assignee space in a big way: they are going to leverage all those shared systems even more.”

He added:

“There’s a lesson here for the mobility industry. We have to look at everything that’s being shared and disrupting business. We must redesign and introduce services and assistance that align with the way younger professionals live and work.”

Learn more about next-gen nuances in Worldwide ERC®’s report: The Perfect Storm: Talent Mobility Leaders Decode the Future.