Demographic and technological changes are the two major trends that transform the workforce, according to the Deloitte study “Voice of Workforce in Europe”, which reached out to more than 15,000 people from ten European countries, namely France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain and Romania.
Demographic trend. The decline in birth rates and the late entry of young people into the labor market lead to a difficult replacement of the workforce. These projections may seem alarming, but other elements can compensate for the loss of current workforce. Employees approaching the retirement age have more time on the labor market, mainly as a result of reforms in pensions and health improvement.
Technological trend. Progress in various fields, especially Artificial Intelligence and communication technologies, involves a rethinking of the structure and the way of working. The skills that employers require are evolving rapidly, and their shelf life becomes shorter.
“The two demographic and technological trends can only be countered by long-term structural policies. Employers must therefore be accustomed to the idea that this is the future of the labor market and to find solutions to motivate existing employees, giving them the possibility of a longer career, which obviously also means the willingness to learn new skills,” says Raluca Bontas, Global Employer Services Partner, Deloitte Romania.
The survey shows that, according to occupation, between 24% (factory workers, processing) and 43% (professionals) intend to work after the age of 65. As for other age groups, employees over 55 have the most part-time contracts (20%) or are freelancers (10%).
At the same time, findings revealed that the most relevant skills for future employment are advanced IT (21%), foreign languages (21%), technical knowledge (17%), learning (12%), communication (11%), while the most effective learning methods are, according to the age group, training at work (79%-77%), working on a new problem/task (70%-68%), attending courses, seminars (66%-56%).
The most relevant five aspects that motivate the workplace are job security and stability (87%), remuneration (85%), trust of colleagues, clients, leaders (84%), clear definition of responsibilities (83%), competent management (82%).
“Romania is also facing a decline in birth rates and, in addition to the Western European states, labor migration. Both phenomena are likely to continue in the medium term and may affect the growth potential of the economy. In the most recent financial stability report, the National Bank of Romania identified the demographic problem as a structural vulnerability, with a quarter of the Romanian labor force working in other states. However, the present study also reveals how employers can adapt to these trends by changing their approach to five key points that primarily aim at retaining seniors, contract flexibility and learning,” Raluca Bontas explains.
How do employers adapt?
Taking advantage of longer careers. Companies looking for skills and flexibility should consider the group of elderly workers who remain motivated, content and open to alternative employment arrangements.
Employing and motivating a wider workforce. Motivation factors vary by age and status. Managing a workforce with different opinions and preferences and providing a personalized experience to employees will become more and more difficult and will require a set of skills not necessarily related to specific technical knowledge.
Training strategies for alternative careers. Although wage labor remains the most attractive form of employment, there is moderate interest in other types of contracts, especially among the elderly.
Promoting lifelong learning. Taking into account that a career spans more than half a century and also considering the fact that changes due to technology are rapid, lifelong learning becomes essential.
Waking call on technological change. Organizations should anticipate dissolution of roles and provide alternatives to affected workers. This effort can help increase their commitment as well as performance and can counteract their lack of motivation.