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People Management August issue highlights age

by on August 5, 2015

Are we ready for the four-generation workforce?  That is the question posed by one of the special features in August’s People Management, the CIPD’s practitioner publication.

Sadly despite a subheading suggesting we should forget the cliches, the opening double page spread of the article is dominated by a stereotypical representation of four generations.  I had to read it twice to realise that yes, PM really does suggest that Millennials spend most of the day sexting and that Gen X drives a Volvo and BabyBoomers only like smartphones with big buttons.  What is going on here?  Eventually in the article, well onto the second page, there is a bracketed comment referencing their generational descriptions as stereotypes but this is too little too late.  Was it really necessary to give stereotypes so much dominance and then hide away the comment that recognises the problems such stereotypes (of all ages) raise?

At no point in the article is the notion of a generation actually unpacked, readers will be left with the idea that such cohorts are a well defined and agreed phenomenon when they are not!  Rather there is a lot of discussion of age as a chronological fact and the relative issues of employment at and of different chronological ages.  Sorry PM but you have rather missed the point, despite the useful review of a couple of organisations who are taking some innovative steps on age diversity.

I will need a few more cups of coffee before I can bring myself to read the rest of the age related articles in this issue.

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