The Benefits and Drawbacks of Workplace Age Diversity
April 21 2020 • 4 min read
How Focusing on One Generation Affords Makosi a Huge Opportunity
Studies show that age diversity in the workplace offers companies a variety of advantages. As a result, 85% of professionals globally believe that an age-diverse team is more innovative, productive, and cost-effective. But with up to five generations of workers sharing a single workspace (from the Silent Generation to Generation Z), it can be difficult for employers to understand and support the career priorities of their entire workforce.
For current generations entering the workforce, experience is everything. In fact, 9 in 10 workers would willingly take a pay cut if it meant engaging in more purposeful or exciting work. They want to feel as if they’re being challenged; growing, both professionally and personally. Unfortunately, it’s difficult—if not impossible—for most traditional audit firms to create a profound life-changing experience for their employees.
That’s where Makosi comes in.
Five generations of workers
It’s no secret that diversity is a hot-button topic in discussions about the modern workforce. But, most often, we frame conversations about diversity around ethnicity, gender, race, nationality, and orientation. We consider age a diversity factor less frequently, though research is beginning to show its increasing relevance.
Today’s workers are retiring later in life, creating workplaces that are rich in terms of maturity and experience, as well as youthful energy and innovation. However, it also means a diversity of communication styles, workplace skills, and career motivations.
The challenge: age diversity and changing career priorities
Perhaps most challenging for audit firms to address across generations of workers is the changing landscape of career priorities, and the increasing importance of experience. SHRM has outlined the differences between each generation (and the seven values that they have in common).
For example, while previous generations viewed work as a means to an end—the best way to afford the lifestyle they wanted—today’s newest generation of workers believe their workplace is an essential piece of their lifestyle. It’s where they look for purpose and fulfillment, not just financial security.
The rising importance of experience
When young workers talk about “experience,” they’re not talking about gaining workplace skills or lines on their resumes. Nor are they talking about using entry-level positions as a stepping stone to the next promotion. Instead, they’re talking about something much more profound—and much more difficult to capture.
They’re talking about passion, finding a joie de vivre, feeling as if they’re part of something bigger and more meaningful than themselves. They crave the sort of experiences that shape and rewire the way we see the world. In other words, they’re looking for profound life experiences, not just work experience.
Unfortunately, this is one thing that audit firms consistently struggle to provide. This may be a key contributor to the high turnover rates and burnout that the newest audit recruits are feeling. So how can traditional audit firms turn the workplace into a life-changing experience?
Outsourcing life experiences
While Makosi recruits candidates of all ages, experience levels, and specialties, the overwhelming majority of our candidate pool is audit seniors. As such, we’ve been able to channel our energy into identifying the key motivating factors of this generation. The program we’ve created checks all of those boxes.
Instead of just filling chairs, we provide a life-changing experience that fulfills this generation of worker’s desire for purpose, deepens their career experience, and helps our clients meet their workforce and project management needs.
As Forbes contributor, Ashira Prossack notes, “Corporate social responsibility is a top priority for Millennials. It can’t just be lip service either, like a big push for donations at the holidays.” But today’s busy audit leaders don’t necessarily have time to organize massive social movements.
Luckily, when you partner with Makosi, you can outsource both the corporate social responsibility and the employee fulfillment that accompanies it. Each of our candidates is required to participate in a social program. From building schools in developing countries to repopulating streams and combating deforestation, each of our candidates sets out on a life-changing volunteer experience during their time with Makosi.
Is age diversity really all about age?
After years of providing project support teams to firms across the nation, we’ve gained some crucial insights about the actual importance—or lack thereof—of age. True, countless articles tout the benefits of a young workforce. But we’ve found that age actually takes the backseat in terms of motivators. Far more meaningful is experience; where the individual stands in their career.
At Makosi, we recruit Audit Seniors: young professionals with 5-7 years of intensive education and on-the-job experience. We’ve found that in this stage of their careers—whether they’re in their 20s, 30s, 40s, or even older—candidates demonstrate the same passion, drive, and enthusiasm. They also thrive in work where they feel like they’re making strides in their careers and living purposefully.
So, while we’ve catered our experience to one “generation,” that word refers more to a “generation of workers” (those at the start of their career), rather than an age. After all, age is just a number. But experience is life.
When you leverage Makosi’s revolutionary workforce model, the benefits are twofold. Not only do you get the production benefits of a highly-motivated international workforce. But you also get to outsource the “experience factor,” which plugs Makosi’s talent pool into something bigger than themselves. Through our 1-for-1 business model (one audit project equals one social project), we’re changing lives and supporting the future of audit.