Age doesn’t protect against new work — Demographic change 4.0

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Experience, wisdom, leadership – all these qualities are spoken to people who are older than you, right? From small business to schooling to the completion of vocational training or studies, it is primarily older people who educate, advise, train, and lead. This socio-cultural character ensures that one expects a senior person to be someone older than oneself.

Thanks to digitisation, new job profiles and the demographic change 4.0, it’s precisely this expectation that is increasingly being met. The tendency is to have a project and team leader around 30 with a staff of 40-plus years.

4.0 becomes routine

Industry 4.0, Work 4.0 — the digital transformation is constantly creating new structures, patterns of thought, and behaviour. The way we work, with whom and for what purpose adapts to the progress that new trends and technologies bring with it. This also includes reinterpreting the well-known demographic change.

The topic: Generation is therefore no longer relevant only in terms of the target group and customer approach, but also in terms of the structure of their own company. From the post-war generation and baby boomers to Generation X, Y, and Z — all these terms, the generations behind them, and how to unite them, is not just part of the digital transformation, but also of New Work’s everyday work.

Generational conflict in-house?

So much for the theory, but what about the acceptance of these clenched age groups when it comes to leadership positions? According to the Randstad Work Barometer 2018, which is published in 33 countries each quarter, two in three respondents cannot agree with the idea that a (significantly) younger person is their superior.

A new perspective, same problem: the majority of young, qualified candidates for a leading position are also reluctant to apply for executive positions because they, too, believe that older colleagues, who have been with the company for a long time, are privileged to the next level.

Leadership — (not) a matter of age?

But it is precisely these inhibitions to overcome, because the career philosophy: »Knowledge comes with age« is no longer up-to-date and, above all, no guarantees of success given the challenges the digital business presence.
After all, it is the digital natives, aka Generation Y (* 1985 – 2000) and Generation Z (* 2000 +), who have grown up with the new technologies and have the know-how that the companies of the future need. A matter of competence and authenticity rather than a matter of age. Axes are the know-how that the companies of the future need.

Although hot and endlessly discussed, the following prime example of success cannot be avoided despite — or even more so because of — the digital natives: Franzi Kühne. At the age of just 25, the Berliner founded the first social media agency in her hometown. »Torben, Lucie und die gelbe Gefahr« (TLGG) marked the beginning of a steep career, culminating in 2017 as Freenet’s youngest board member.
We at dotSource also live »Work 4.0« and do not make authenticity and acceptance a matter of age. Quite the contrary. It is not for nothing that the oft-cited sentence by Christian Malik, one of our managing directors and co-founders, proves itself over and over again:

» It works best for us if it feels like home and family. «

And that’s what matters — no matter how old the people are.

New Work, New Conference

More insights and best practices on the »nice new world of work« will be available at the Handelskraft Conference 2019.

Learn how to: »Skill your business« instead of »kill your business«. We invite all brands, retailers, and manufacturers to attend the event at the Klassikstadt in Frankfurt am Main on 28 March 2019.

Here’s where the early bird tickets are!

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