A day at the races

Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to sunny Ascot.

It’s a perfect day for racing, and welcome to the inaugural running of the ‘Which Generation Should We Hire’ hurdle 2020. Sponsored by Employment Cohorts, at the end of this race, we should know who’s in pole position to fill the few, precious vacant roles currently out there.

There are four runners today: the favourite, Millenial, a 33-year-old stallion. Favoured by the bookies, this horse is socially aware, fit, healthy and ethically sound and must be in pole position. Chomping at the bit next to them, is Gen-Z, the new kid on the block. It’s the first trip out of the stables for this enthusiastic go-getter.  Unproven but cheaper to maintain than the others, Gen-Z could be a dark horse in today’s race.  Lurking on the rails looking a little bit anxious about the form of Gen-Z and Millenial is Generation-X.  Having been around since the ’70s, they’ve been around the block. There’s still some fuel in the tank, but they are looking a little jaded.  Finally, taking their time to stroll up to the starting gate after a bit of nap, is Baby Boomer. This old boy was around in the ’60s and has seen and done it all.

They line up.

And they’re off, heading to the first fence; Work-life Balance.

Gen-Z flies to the front of the pack but then pulls up quickly. Noticing a few friends in the crowd, they seem a little distracted and pop over for a quick chat. Millenial leaps over perfectly and takes the lead, obviously knowing the exact time to jump and how best to nail the landing.  Generation-X barely makes it over, stumbling as they land.  It looked like they were a little bit concerned about timing everything perfectly and jumped too late.  Baby Boomer is last to the fence but miraculously manages to keep up with the leaders by slipping around the side. They’ve obviously done this before and knew about a shortcut.

Gen-Z rejoins the pack after their friends meander off towards the finish line. All four horses charge to the second fence: Using Technology.

As you’d expect, a steady jump from Millenial. But the surprise here is Generation-X who flies over the fence just behind them.  I guess experiencing so many giant leaps in technology means they just aren’t phased when anything technological gets in their way.  Baby Boomer and Gen-Z have pulled up.  It looks like Gen-Z is helping Baby Boomer over.  Now, that’s what I call kindness.

Millenial is in the lead with Generation-X close behind. Baby Boomer and Gen-Z are towards the rear as we move onto fence number 3: LifeStyle.

Hold on; there’s a problem with Gen-Z.  They’ve wandered over to the ‘Should I Go To University’ Stakes.  I’m not sure they know which is the better race for them yet. They probably want to try a few before committing to one for the long haul.

Millenial is in the lead and reaches the fence first. But they’ve pulled up. They seem to have found a friend, and a little horse has appeared next to them. It looks like they are going to raise a family.  Well, that’s going to keep them busy for a while. 

Generation-X jumps the fence on their own, as Baby Boomer seems to have gone off for a round of golf.

There are 200 metres to go before the final fence:  Productivity.

Gen-Z has worked out that University isn’t for them and joins Baby Boomer, still in his plus fours, at the rear of the pack. Ahead of them Millenial, having found a friend of Generation-X to baby sit, is making good progress, seemingly muttering the words ‘have to win due to new commitments’. 

They all approach the final hurdle.

But BabyBoomer and Gen-Z have slowed down to a trot. Baby Boomer is showing the youngster how to jump this fence quickly. Baby Boomer has run this race a few times before and knows every nook and cranny of the course. That knowledge can only help Gen-Z. 

We’re in the final straight, Millenial and Gen-Z are pulling ahead. Generation-X and Baby Boomer seem to be tiring.

But Millennial is slowing. It looks like they’re checking their social media accounts and posing for a selfie. The distraction allows Gen-Z to pull into the lead, but spotting their friends in the crowds, Gen-Z drifts over to the grandstand.  They have to go and check that they’re not missing out on anything, giving Generation-X and Baby Boomer the opportunity to close the gap.

Baby Boomer is flying.  Someone in the crowd has thrown them an energy drink.  I guess having an established network of friends, colleagues and contacts can really help.  Generation-X is also making good ground.  Fed up of being written off, they seem to have a point to prove and seem focused on getting to the finish line as quickly as they can.

They approach the line…

And it’s a dead heat.

A fantastic race and a bad day for the bookies with all four horses technically coming in first.

They all had something different to offer and came with their own particular set of problems, but they all did an excellent job and actually supported each other throughout the race. I was amazed at how well they all worked together.

If we’ve learned anything today, it’s that grouping people into ‘social cohorts’ and stereotyping them with a predefined set of positives and negatives is not necessarily the best approach to filling vacancies.

On that note, it’s goodbye from Ascot, thanks for joining us and I’ll see you next time.


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