Employers in East of England turning backs on younger workers as ‘snowflake’ generations struggle to build careers


More than twice as many business owners in the East of England would choose to recruit an older worker than a younger candidate with exactly the same skills and experience, according to new research.

In a national survey, more than a third of 1,000 SME business owners (36%) said that they would sooner recruit a 55-year-old, with 40% of business owners in the East of England saying the same. Less than one fifth of East England business owners preferred a 24-year-old with the same CV (17%). Issues raised by business leaders about so-called ‘snowflake’ and ‘Millennial’ employees included ‘lower productivity’, ‘higher absence rates’ and ‘a poorer grasp of the English language’, according to data gathered by the UK’s most trusted business healthcare provider, Benenden Health.

The study, which also surveyed 1,000 employees, found that nationally more than half (56%) of Generation Z employees (aged 16-23) felt they have been overlooked for roles due to their age compared to 47% of Millennials (aged 24-38), 29% of Generation X (aged 39-54) and a third (34%) of Baby Boomers (aged 55-72). More than a third of employees (36%) surveyed in the East of England felt they had been overlooked for a job due to their age.

However, when it comes to attracting and retaining a workforce, the findings have shown a major discrepancy between what employers and employees see as a priority.
Health and wellbeing packages are starting to command increasing importance for employees, with nearly half of all respondents (48%) saying a strong health and wellbeing benefit would increase their likelihood to join or stay with a business. Nationally, Generation Z employees (aged 16-23) revealed they would be willing to sacrifice a whopping third of their salary to receive a healthcare package that fits their personal needs.

Yet, despite this, as many as 86% of SMEs surveyed in Eastern England reported that they don’t have a healthcare package in place for employees above statutory allowances, with 39% of those without one claiming they don’t believe it is necessary and more than half (59%) saying they don’t believe or weren’t sure a strong health and wellbeing package is valuable in recruiting and retaining employees.

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