Understanding the Y generation

So you're starting to think more proactively about recruiting younger workers, but you don't know where to start ... 

Generation Ys (under 35s) are tech savvy, values driven, and crave career progression. Now, what does that mean for organisations that have 'flat' structures? Limited career progression opportunities? Or no individuals under 35 on the team?

It means the time to start thinking about this is NOW! In 10 years time there is going to be a lot of our aged care workforce entering into long term retirement (or at least planning on it!), which means we are going to need a lot more workers to start taking up these leadership and management positions.

Yes, the skills shortage is real. It's global. Our nurses, personal care workers, and admin talent will be in high demand in other industries and lured overseas (USA, EU, Asia, China). Meaning there will be a limited number of individuals available to take the place of our retiring workers. What we need to be considering is how we start promoting aged care opportunities.

Why? Well, no one talks about aged care to the under 35s, we are expected to begin our careers in global corporate companies, primary health or private practice - yes people openly say that aged care is for the end of your career, nurses are saying it and so are HR teams. I've heard it. Your young staff have heard it. 

What can you do to start opening up this conversation, get Generation Y interested, and get them to stay longer? How do we being to challenge the perception that aged care is no place for the young?

It's time to take notice of this issues or you'll go the way of the Wooly Mammoth. Extinct.


1. Talk to them

Yup, get in touch with a young Generation Y who is working in aged care. Ask them to mentor you -it's called reverse mentoring; MasterCard, BP and IBM have been doing it for a while (1). Talk to them about the challenges they face, where they see their career in 5 to 10 years time. What do they wish their employer could do to help them stay engaged in their workplace?

GY have high expectations of their employing organisations AND their managers. They want to be understood, valued, and heard. Talking builds trust and it shows us that you value what we have to say. It's a simple thing to do, and a key factor in getting Generation Y to see your organisation and a place that cares about them and their careers.

2. See what other industries are doing

Technology companies are doing amazing things to attract young talent. Google, Deloitte, Apple have great initiatives (no you don't need to install a super slide in your office). What you do need to do is see the actions they are taking. Think outside the box and brainstorm.

Run it past your Generation Y mentor and brainstorm how you could implement it. Just challenging yourself to see how the other side thinks, helping you to see the patterns of GY thinking, and understand what aligns with your organisations values.

3. Get ready to adapt your mindset and processes

Embrace the change that is coming. It's not just about Generation Y. These changes effect all the age group, everyone wants more flexibility and to be understood by their employers - it's just that Generation Y are willing to walk away from those who don't live up to their expectations. Talk about it and educate yourself, your staff, and your new recruits. It not just about managing, it's about understanding.

Generation Y will make up over 40% of the Australian working population in 2025 (2,3). You need to start now. These steps are just the beginning, they will get you thinking about the next steps you should take to employ/recruit/retain this valuable asset.


Aged care has a huge advantage over most Australian workplaces.

It's a place that provides a way give back to the community and see how they can make an amazing impact on the world. It is vital to your success as a manager and as a leader to start thinking about Generation Ys. 

Yes these simple strategies are just the beginning, but they will get you and your organisation ready for implementing new policies and procedures that deliver real impact. Don't leave it for tomorrow.

It's time you became someone who inspires a new way of thinking.