Younger generation critical to economic recovery

The younger generation could be the key to economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and reverse mentoring could help drive positive change, says new research by Barclays.

Over a third (34%) of business leaders have reportedly noted the significant role that the younger generation will play in helping businesses survive and thrive post COVID-19.

LifeSkills, an initiative launched by Barclays to help young people attain the skills they need for work, outlined the attributes business leaders believe young people offer to struggling businesses.

Energy and enthusiasm (51%), aptitude for technology (46%), and creativity (40%) were the most common and desirable qualities leaders said young people would bring to work.

Further reading:

Lack of diversity attributed to fewer young workers

The great Millennials myth: The secret to motivating young people

Challenges HR faces with generation gaps

Just over nine in ten (91%) business leaders also said they would be interested in learning from the younger generation or those entering the world of work.

Over half (54%) had heard of the concept of ‘reverse mentoring’, when junior staff are paired with those more experienced to swap insights and add perspective on tackling business challenges.

However, fewer than one in ten (9%) business leaders say that reverse mentoring is already in place in their organisation.

Speaking to HR magazine, Kirstie Mackey, head of LifeSkills, said the research’s findings are really positive for HR as they show just how impactful mentoring is for people at all stages of their career.

“Reverse mentoring programmes can provide a forum for both parties to have open and honest conversations with colleagues who they wouldn’t necessarily interact with,” she said.

Mackey argued that switching up the traditional hierarchy can bring together the different skills of each generation and can shake up preconceived notions of each other’s challenges and perspectives.

“The mentors can add value now, helping current leadership to tackle the challenges of today and those being mentored can in turn, ensure that the younger generations feel respected and have the confidence and skills to effectively run the businesses of tomorrow,” she said.

The survey was conducted by Censuswide between 14 September and 2 October. The sample of the survey consisted of 552 business leaders/senior decision makers.