June 5th, 2024 | Sterling

Generation Alpha and The World of Work

Today’s workforce brings their unique experiences and values, reshaping traditional expectations and norms. In order to hire, attract, and retain Generation Alpha talent in future decades, organisations need to consider how they can adjust their hiring and onboarding processes to suit those needs and expectations and the different considerations and priorities of the workforce, and increase diversity within the organisation.

Now, millennials, who are projected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, are changing the world of work driven by economic challenges, their own expectations, and learning from the experiences of older generations. Many millennials value stability, progression, flexibility, and inclusivity. Meanwhile, Gen Z, the youngest generation in the current workforce, prioritises mental health, work-life balance, career growth, and remote work opportunities.

However, this generational contrast is evident in stress levels, with younger workers experiencing greater pressure. Additionally, the differing expectations of various generations can often create tension, leading to an ongoing challenge for businesses as they strive to accommodate a more diverse and inclusive workforce where there are differing needs and expectations on workforce and talent management.

Enter Generation Alpha 

With this new generation (dubbed Generation Alpha) growing up entirely in the 21st century, it is predicted that Alphas will be the most educated, the most technologically advanced, the longest living, and the wealthiest of all generations. Additionally, it is predicted that there will be around 2 billion Gen Alphas living in the world by 2025, mainly from India, China, and Indonesia. 

So, with all these characteristics in mind, let’s take a closer look at Generation Alpha – their context, their experience, and how these factors might affect the world of work in the way organisations hire, onboard, and retain their workforce. 

1. Racially and Geographically Diverse Candidates

Generation Alpha will be more racially diverse, with increasing rates of foreign-born parents, and they’re also more likely to be foreign-born themselves. This suggests workers in Generation Alpha will have a significantly more global mindset than previous generations when it comes to work — they may be more inclined to move overseas for a good role, they may be more open to work for a foreign company while based in their native country, and they may cast their nets globally when job hunting.

For companies hiring staff, this can only be a good thing. It means the ability to hire the best talent from around the world and to increase the diversity within your company. Research has found that diversity increases innovation and reduces risk — read more from our blog about how diversity can bring a plethora of benefits to a company. 

This would also mean, when considering candidates who have amassed work experience from organisations which are based outside of the current hiring organisation – there is a need to work with a screening partner like Sterling who can ‘Think Global, Work Local’.  If your candidate has overseas gigs, there is a need to work with both local and overseas offices who understand the nuances and legislation requirements in that country to carry out the pre-employment screening programs.  

2. The Challenge To Retain Talent 

Australian social researcher Mark McCrindle, who first coined the moniker “Generation Alpha,” has said, “This generation of children will be shaped in households that move more frequently, change careers more often, and increasingly live in urban, not just suburban, environments.” 

This suggests that Generation Alpha will be accustomed to several career changes, having witnessed their parents changing roles and careers throughout their childhood. We expect to see a continuation of the trend where workers are comfortable with switching roles and companies when they find (or are offered) a better opportunity. Increasingly there’s much less hang-up about “paying your dues” and sticking it out with one company for loyalty or benefits. 

This factor, combined with the shorter attention spans expected of Generation Alpha due to their early exposure to technology and penchant for immediate gratification from a young age, means it will take more investment by companies to retain good Generation Alpha talent. Companies will need to become more innovative and in tune with their employees to understand how to keep them happy and motivated in their roles. 

This would include having data insights into their workforce through regular rescreening and job performance reviews to drive internal hiring programs for candidates who have outgrown their role. This includes recognising and validating additional educational certifications or credentials which your employees have amassed during their tenure with the organisation. 

3. Seamless and Fast Candidate Experience Driven by Talent 

The technological savvy of Generation Alpha will mean they will expect onboarding and recruitment processes to be smooth and friction-less from beginning to end, with Gen Alphas to be most impacted by social media than any other generations before them. 

They may expect job advertisements to be found more easily on social media channels like LinkedIn, interviews to be facilitated virtually, background screening to be conducted online, particularly biometric scanning for identity verification, and onboarding to mostly be done on digital devices. These are just a few digital transformations we expect to become standard by the time Generation Alpha enters the workforce. 

In turn, we also expect Gen Alpha to have a stronger digital footprint online with the early exposure of social media platforms and curated social profiles. This may bring a stronger need for social media checks, which can provide insights that help to reveal potentially risky conduct and hire better quality candidates. 

4. Increased Scrutiny on Career Profile 

 It is also expected that Generation Alpha will be the most educated of any generation before it, with half of Gen Alphas predicted to earn a university degree. They are likely to stay in education longer, meaning that they’ll start their earning years later and remain living with their parents longer than previous generations. 

Consequently, we expect that the age of the average worker entering the workplace will rise. These employees are likely to be more mature and have more understanding of what they’re seeking in their careers. This should inform the way in which employers promote job vacancies and how they structure their recruitment, onboarding, and career path processes. 

This would also increase the need for organisations to filter candidate data with more scrutiny to ensure that that candidate is who they say they are. This can come in the form or educational or professional certifications verification and reference checks, thus requiring a need for hiring framework supported by a robust screening program. 

How Can Sterling Help Prepare For The Future? 

To hire, attract, and retain Generation Alpha talent in future decades, organisations need to consider how they can adjust their hiring and onboarding processes to suit those needs and expectations and the different considerations and priorities of the workforce. 

Sterling understands the importance of adapting and preparing for these changes. We’re committed to helping businesses navigate this digitally native, globally connected generation, as they join the workforce in the next decade. 

Are you ready to develop a global background check programme or review your existing programme with a view to optimisation?Contact us for more information.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.