Laws of attraction

FIDI President Derek Duffy on what younger staff want from the moving industry – and how firms benefit from giving it to them

This issue of FIDI Focus is dedicated to the role of younger movers in shaping the future of global mobility, so it’s a great time to reflect on how we, as an industry, can make ourselves attractive to the upcoming generation of employees – and what we stand to gain if we get this process right.

In general, potential employees under the age of 40 offer exciting new skill sets compared with their older counterparts – notably, technological capabilities developed from early childhood, and other skills that promise to bring new approaches to existing and emerging challenges.

However, they also want to work in sectors that offer the best opportunities to use their talents. While the moving business has become more open to tech-driven change, it is far from being a leader in digitalisation. We must work harder to give people the freedom to show us how technology can help drive faster change in our lagging industry.

Moving also has an image problem – or rather, a lack of one. Ours is a relatively anonymous industry among jobseekers, one that people don’t actively seek out when choosing a career. Except for those in family businesses, very few people I know started their working life intending to be a mover.

This is not news to us; even many of those who have heard of the sector perceive it (wrongly, as we know) to be dull, and concerned mainly with ‘boxes and trucks’. As a result, we have long-standing recruitment difficulties that, as labour markets get more competitive, are increasingly urgent to address. There is a pressing need for movers to highlight the great people, international travel opportunities and other elements that make this such a dynamic, exciting business in which to be. Communication is an essential part of this puzzle.

The next generation also has demands for flexible working and a work/life balance that suits them as well as their employers – and we must cater for these. They also want to work for companies that reflect their values. Generation Z (born between the mid- to late-1990s and 2010s) show much more interest in diversity, sustainability, and broader societal challenges than their predecessors, and want to be in businesses that do, too. These people will have an important role in supporting and leading our efforts to drive forward emerging agendas, for the benefit of us all. Companies that can demonstrate their commitment to and engagement with these issues are likely to have more success finding the right calibre of employee. In turn, embracing and aligning with these values and interests should make us better at what we do.

Recruitment challenges and the organisational change needed to address them are not easy for companies large or small, but those willing to focus on the benefits that next-generation talent will bring to our businesses will reap the rewards. If we can step up recruitment of younger talent, and nurture their ideas and input, we will make our companies more attractive to future new employees, increasing the pace of change further.

FIDI is very much focused on the challenges and will continue with initiatives to help Affiliates tackle them for the long term.

Despite developments in what staff are looking for from employers, several aspects have not changed: fair and competitive compensation; being appreciated and recognised at work; and having a sense of belonging and job security. These remain vital for any employers into the future, too. As a final thought, here’s a caveat. While younger employees can, and will, deliver huge benefits to movers, older staff offer unique experience and outlooks that are invaluable to the recruitment jigsaw, too. This will be the subject of an article in FIDI Focus in the near future.

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