When IT staff retires

The very first cohorts of IT experts will soon be retiring. Companies need to plan for the generational shift and look to recruit professionals from the youngest Generation Z.

Baby boomers, Generation X, Y and, more recently, Generation Z: Up to four generations with a wide variety of values, work attitudes and preferences now work together in companies. For now. Because according to estimates, companies will lose up to twenty percent of their IT staff in the next ten years. Many experienced IT experts from the baby boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964) will soon be taking well-deserved retirement. This further exacerbates the already massive shortage of skilled workers. And it requires companies to plan ahead for this generational change, especially on two levels.

Avoid loss of know-how, transfer knowledge

This is because there is a threat of a sensitive loss of expertise. Small and medium-sized companies are particularly affected, as large corporations are generally better able to absorb personnel losses. A crucial point here is the strategy of transferring human expertise into systems, i.e., "mechanizing" it, for example, storing it in knowledge management systems or integrating it into software. Particularly in IT areas where major technological leaps are to be expected, such as the ERP solutions from SAP that have been in use since the 1990s and 2000s, the relevant expertise is almost exclusively in the heads of those older IT experts who modified and customized the systems at the time. The know-how of these experts is essential when, for example, an update or migration to a modern solution is due. This step will inevitably come at some point in every company due to digitization. And in view of the generational change in IT personnel, it should be planned now: in terms of personnel, IT infrastructure and, of course, the IT solutions used. If you would like to take a closer look at knowledge transfer, you can find a very good overview of current knowledge management systems here, for example.

Generation Z is here

But there is hope for companies whose IT workforce may already be getting a bit long in the tooth. The youngest generation of workers is already digging in their heels - and they are particularly digitally savvy. Generation Z includes everyone born between 1996 and 2010 (or 2015, according to other sources). By 2030, around 30 percent of all workers will come from this generation. And thanks to them, a fresh wind is already blowing in many a company. After all, the "digital natives" bring "more affinity in dealing with data in the 'digital world,' cherish the desire for boundless flexibility and know one thing above all: speed," say the management consultants at Esentri, for example. Farsighted HR departments are therefore already making efforts to supplement their IT teams with young colleagues where possible. Because one thing is clear: even young IT professionals can already offer senior-expert-level know-how. Not all of them, but some.

"The next big thing"

To attract Generation Z as employees, companies need to understand the young up-and-comers in the first place. It's worth doing so, because Generation Z is nothing less than "the next big thing," according to an article worth reading by IT firm J-Labs, which summarizes various studies on the topic. It is the first generation to have grown up completely with all digital technologies. Smartphone and computer, as well as of course social media and being permanently online are simply a matter of course for them - both privately and professionally! They don't know a world without the Internet, virtual and real life are merging, and it's not for nothing that they are also called "Generation YouTube. Nevertheless, leisure time is once again more important than it was for previous generations; it serves self-realization more than work.

Understanding and engaging Generation Z

Of course, Generation Z's expectations of the job are particularly exciting for potential employers. According to initial studies - there aren't many on this yet - the atmosphere at work is the most important factor, followed by salary, job security and good support, for example from a dedicated mentor. Young professionals want to be able to make a difference in the company, are looking for a challenge and, despite all the desired flexibility and independence, want clear career paths where they can get support. And above all, they are looking for job offers that are adapted to their talents and interests. An important point: After all, given the shortage of skilled workers, they will most likely be able to choose their employers in the future. For companies that want to win the competition for Generation Z, this means that they must not only recognize their potential, but also actively adapt to it! This includes optimal development opportunities as well as a modern corporate culture and significantly more speed, for example in application processes.

IT experts with the right skills are available at GECO
Companies can find the right IT specialists for their current needs at GECO, regardless of age. Because whether the experienced senior or the young, digital-savvy IT native from Generation Z is ultimately suitable for your project does not depend on age, but exclusively on his or her skills and qualifications for the job. As a leading IT recruiter with a large network, we always bring together what fits together perfectly. We are also happy to support you in optimizing and accelerating your application processes. We're looking forward to your call or e-mail!