The UK’s largest recruiter, is warning employers that they must introduce measures to not only attract but to retain young talent if they are to safeguard the future success and reputation of their business.

The recruitment company believes resistance from employers to embrace social media and new ways of working could be a major barrier hindering the future potential of UK businesses and their staff. Adecco Group is urging employers to move away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to employee engagement and to make their organisations more receptive and supportive of younger generations and the new skills and experiences they have to offer.

Technology could be widening gap between employers and younger workers

This topic was discussed at a recent roundtable of business leaders. While recognised as an integral element of working life, technology was identified as one of the key drivers that appears to be widening the gap between traditional employers and the new generations entering the workforce. Feedback from a number of representatives around the table suggested that many young candidates are increasingly disillusioned by what today’s employers have to offer. Many of those entering into the workforce are finding that technology, which is common place in their everyday lives, is not necessarily commonplace at work – as many employers lag behind consumer trends.

Dr Nakata, Reader in Social Informatics at the Informatics Research Centre at the Henley Business School said: “I’m often hearing from our students, who are meeting companies for interviews, that they are surprised that much of the so-called ‘common technology’, such as Facebook or mobile apps, which they use in everyday life is actually not used widely in companies. As a result, they feel disillusioned by the prospect of working for the kind of company that doesn’t seem to value the skills and experience they already have.”

This sentiment was echoed by Justin Parks, Head of Workspace Online at Getronics: “Businesses today have a role to play in making their organisations more appealing and exciting to the younger generations. They need to think carefully about how they interact with these guys [the younger generation] who are already very comfortable with social media and other forms of technology.”

David Clubb, Managing Director of Office Angels added: “It is clear that businesses need to adapt, or they risk losing out on a vital talent pool. Employers are looking around and asking, ‘why aren’t I attracting the best talent in the market place?’ and it’s because they haven’t moved on, they haven’t accepted that the world is changing.

“In many instances, the very technologies which can support employee engagement and internal communications, such as Twitter or the writing of blogs, are actually banned or restricted in the workplace, in the majority of cases because employers view them as a distraction and have misunderstood the value they can add. The recent riots and the prolific use of channels such as Blackberry Messenger (BBM) only reinforce how much social media is an integral part of young people’s lives and how they communicate – this is something employers cannot afford to ignore.”

The discussions formed part of the recruiter’s wider initiative to examine how employers, Government and individuals can work more closely together to unlock the potential of Britain’s workforce. The debate, which formed one of four roundtable events, examined the need for employers to take a more flexible approach to staff engagement, while exploring the role technology can play in supporting this. The roundtable was attended by representatives including Henley Business School, eSkills, Learn Direct, Barclays Capital, Intellect and Getronics.

Chris Moore, Managing Director, Adecco Group Solutions, said: “These debates have really looked to explore how companies are currently engaging with their staff and how the various tools and technologies at their disposal are supporting, or in some cases even hindering their quest towards a truly engaged workforce. While technology is undeniably a key enabler in the workplace, supporting improved communication and innovation, it was interesting to hear from some around the table about how they have seen this enabler cause a divide between employer and employee – this is a worrying trend that must be addressed if we are to really unleash the future potential of our workforce.”