And become better at marketing to women in the process…
Employee demographics are changing. The post-war baby boomers, who fueled the exponential growth of the world economy, are retiring. In the UK, 550,000 people a year reach pensionable age; in 2012 it is expected to peak to 807,000 (over 50% more than usual). The UK will be short of 1.3 million 30-44 year olds by 2030. The economic impact of this will be substantial, as it will drain the country’s pension-tanks. However, the skills shortage will be an abhorrent reality for corporations. They will be faced with the looming impact of not enough qualified candidates to steer their corporate ships.
What can your company do to avoid crashing on the rocks of lack of talent?
1. Maximise retention of ALL your talent: Women hold the keys to your Future
Over 60 per cent of university graduates are women; 50 percent of graduate recruits are women in most organisations. However, only 5 per cent make it to the boardroom. Retention is the name of the game here – create a working culture that inspires women to stay, grow, develop and perform at their peak levels. Beware of the Maternity or other gender-based stereotypes. One of the best comments I have recently heard from a female multi-millionaire entrepreneur is:
“If a woman is capable enough to run a home and work, then she is good enough to work for me. She can definitely multi-task. She does not need to me micromanaged and can bring in serious results”.
2. Groom, Grow, Reap Rewards
Foster your top talent, currently in their 30s and 40s, to take the reins in supervisory, managerial and leadership roles. They will need hands-on, practical development in dealing with very hard economic realities (for example. running operations on a shoe-string, to avoid negatively impacting the bottom line); they are likely to be leading multinational, cross-border teams which do not only not speak the same language, but are also governed by differing cultural norms.
Understanding diverse view-points will be key; high emotional intelligence will be the catalyst to do so. Resilience skills in leading during uncertainty, and change, will need to be coupled with refined communication and influencing skills. Most CEOs have 30 years of tenure under their belts to achieve this; your future leaders will have a half of that. Businesses will thus need to short-circuit and nurture this talent, to reap long term rewards.
Understanding women as employees can also help your business understand women as consumers. Being great at marketing to women is not a bad by-product of understanding female views.
3. Be flexible: Retain Baby Boomers
The facts are simple – there are not enough young people to fuel your leadership pipeline. So, one of the simplest things to do is to retain the baby boomers themselves. A lot of over 65’s are resorting to social enterprises, philanthropy and even entrepreneurship in order to fulfill their career aspirations after they leave the corporate track. Find ways to retain them – intrapreneurship is key. Let your baby boomers create, run, invest and grow your business’ future potential revenue streams.
4. Recruit the …. Unrecruitable!
To build a spirit of entrepreneurship, with its inherent innovation and flexibility, corporations will have to balance their innate risk-aversion and process driven cultures with innovative talent, talent that is willing to challenge the status quo in order to positively impact the bottom line. Entrepreneurs do this naturally – they are wired to identify product and service gaps, and create ways to overcome them. This is relevant in any part of the business – product development, operations, marketing, finance, IT. These innovation skills, however, are not easy to come by – so consider recruiting those who have gone out there and “done it”. Inject enterprise in your business.
Don’t sit on your laurels. Your competitive advantage does not rest on your systems or processes. It rests on your people. After all, it is your people who run the systems….