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Charlie Duff

Sift Media


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Research reveals new talent in town – Gen R


Say hello to Generation R, your new must-have employee. They’re not defined by a date of birth but recession, retention, responsibility and a desire for recognition.

Forget generations X and Y, it’s Generation R you need to look out for. This set of professionals have not only survived the recession but were retained, were not made redundant but took on more work and responsibility in their leaner teams – and now they are looking for recognition.

The Gen R trend has been identified by Joslin Rowe, the UK financial services recruitment arm of Randstad. Research conducted across 571 professional accountants, bankers, and lawyers in London revealed that 70% took on more technically demanding responsibilities left behind by redundant colleagues and 81% gained more experience and a wider skill set during the recession than at any time in the boom years.

The experience has left 73% who believe they are performing at a level above their current job title – and now the recession has started to ease they want recognition and reward for their hard work. Could they be the next ‘in demand’ generation?

Joslin Rowe Managing Director, Tara Ricks, said: "Filled with confidence as to their own abilities and what they can offer, Generation R has high expectations as to what their next move should be. Some initial research we’ve conducted across our banking recruitment desks shows that many assistant vice president (AVP) level candidates feel they operated at a junior vice president (VP) level during the recession and therefore will only move on to a competitor, or stay at their current firm, in return for a VP title.”

Generation R are keen to take on the challenge of change management, restructuring or project management positions, with 90% saying they could see themselves taking on a role involving change. Interim roles are also more attractive to this demographic.

The research also surveyed 163 city employers of whom 59% have identified talent within their organisation they had no idea was there before the recession and a huge 70% claim their surviving employees are more commercially aware and proficient thanks to having worked through the recession.

In response to the Gen R feeling of having ‘acted up’ 37% say they feel under pressure to fast track employees to the next level after witnessing great performance from their teams.

City employers are also fast becoming aware of the Generation R phenomenon. Of the 163 surveyed, 70% agree that the employees they retained in the recession are more proficient and commercially aware thanks to their experiences over the last 18 months. 59% acknowledge they have discovered future ‘stars’ who weren’t apparent before the recession forced employers to give smaller teams increased responsibilities. Over a third of organisations (37%) also stated they feel pressure to progress their existing staff to the next level (title wise) faster than would usually be the case, because of their recent track record.

And when it comes to getting a new job or recruiting new team members, 53% of hiring managers admitted they have a preference at CV stage towards candidates who were retained during the recession as opposed to those who were made redundant. Tara Ricks believes this has more to do with the high demand for Generation R CVs than any negative reflection on candidates who were made redundant, saying: "It’s only natural to want to entice the same Generation R population from competitors. Competition is slowly but surely increasing. We’re already seeing multiple job offers or buy back scenarios for those professionals most in demand – something we haven’t witnessed since 2007.” 

But for those of you basking in the peacetime post-recession, there’s more news: looks like it’s only a matter of time before the war for talent is back on as 68% of those asked said they thought we were likely to return – presumably to fight it out over the Gen R candidates.

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Charlie Duff


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