The change currently underway in the makeup of the Finance and Accounting field is nothing short of a total transformation. With 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring each day, a chasm has formed between the most experienced generation and the youngest ones in the workforce or poised to soon enter it. Compounding the industry skills shortage problem, the generational gap in Finance and Accounting must be explored in order to uncover ways to effectively hire in spite of it.
Many of your most experienced employees are bound to be part of this older generation of U.S. workers. Whether they are an executive or accomplished Auditor, the thought of them soon leaving the workforce can mean losing deep knowledge in your staff. As 75% of current CPAs are expected to retire in the next 15 years, steps must be taken to deal with the reality of mass Baby Boomer retirement.
Employees that are near a traditional retirement age are still working for a reason. Many feel a strong connection to their work, to their coworkers, and at the most basic level, to a routine that they enjoy. While a business evolves, it’s helpful to keep the environment surrounding a Baby Boomer stable. A major change to their work or atmosphere can push them toward a quicker retirement.
Change is inevitable in any business, but in a storied field like Finance and Accounting it is necessary to frame change carefully. Give Baby Boomers as much advance notice as possible for any major upcoming changes, and be clear about how their role will be affected. Should they be leaning toward retirement, offer them a part-time or consultative role that can fit their desired lifestyle. Many industry retirees quickly turn to bookkeeping or tax preparation part-time roles, so why not try to keep their knowledge in-house? Their deep experience will benefit younger workers, and the organization as a whole.
While Baby Boomers retire in droves and Generation X continues to work diligently, Millennials have risen to become the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. This makes them the backbone of the economy, and increases the likelihood that new Finance and Accounting talent you find will be a Millennial. Consisting of ages ranging from graduating college students to those in their mid-30s, life experiences and personalities will vary across the demographic. However, there are commonalities that can make reaching this important group easier.
Millennials greatly value work-life balance, with 64% desiring to occasionally work from home. Including this flexibility in a job offer can make all the difference in securing top talent. Additionally, this generation wants to be part of an organization that helps the world. Setting aside one paid day per month for an employee to volunteer and assist a charity to balance their books can fulfill this drive to make a difference. Lastly, Millennials want a clear career path and plan. Providing them with a map and timeline of internal jobs they can expect to reach through promotion will make them less likely to look for work elsewhere if they feel assured of their future with your organization.
Unlike Millennials who have begun the early stages of their careers, Generation Z is America’s youngest generation, the majority of which are currently in high school. At this impressionable age, they are deciding what to study in college and which industries to pursue a career in. Capturing their attention and tailoring recruiting strategies to their tastes will prove vital to long-term hiring health.
While Generation Z has little to no professional experience, this actually presents an opportunity to mold them into the workers you want and need. More and more internships are being offered to high school students, and doing so can capture their interest and future talent. Make connections with high school advisors and instructors, encourage job shadows, and speak to students about potential careers in a great industry. Having been raised during a recession, these teenagers know the value of hard work and are willing to put in the effort.
Members of Generation Z are digital natives born into the internet age and multitaskers that enjoy constant stimulation. Since they expect to use technology during any task they undertake, showcase your tools and programs that are on the cutting edge. Boasting about your newest accounting application can capture their attention and interest. Most importantly, they will be looking for your business on social media and reviewing your website through their mobile devices. An absence or negative experience here will immediately turn away this age group.
The Generational Gap in Finance and Accounting
It’s hard to find the right talent, and the generational gap in Finance and Accounting is a big reason why. Catering to each age group’s respective disposition must be considered for a fruitful recruiting strategy. Finally, salary can become the differentiator. While it cannot close the gap that has changed our industry, it can still entice the best talent, regardless of age, to join your ranks while the competition searches in vain.
For further hiring insight and the most up-to-date industry compensation figures, download our 2017 Finance & Accounting Salary Guide today.
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