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A succession time bomb


The forgotten Millennials, those at the older end of this generation who are already in their early thirties, are starting to move into middle-management roles but unless businesses incentivise them effectively they’ll become a ticking time bomb for employers’ succession plans.

That’s according to Hays CEO, Alistair Cox, who in his latest LinkedIn Influencer blog notes that the vast majority of research on Millennials (those born between 1982 and 1994) focuses on the younger end of this generation rather than those now in their early thirties.

According to Alistair, Millennials in their early 30’s are at a different stage of their lives, and as such will have different motivations when it comes to work. As this important group is beginning to reach the middle-management tier, businesses must focus on these workers to avoid a succession time bomb.

Alistair says, “Older Millennials are often now on the cusp of moving into crucial middle-management roles, and yet they are often neglected in a business’ thinking and their own development could be suffering. If businesses continue on this path, they risk losing their next generation of managers and potential future leaders.”

Alistair continues, “I believe that succession planning needs to start at the beginning of a career, not halfway through it. At Hays for instance we are constantly planning for the future to ensure a robust leadership talent pipeline is an integral part of our strategy across all areas of our business.”

Hays share the following 5 retention tips for older Millennials:

Build real purpose into your brand
Helping employees believe in what a company is trying to achieve and understanding its goals will in turn encourage loyalty among staff. Alistair adds, “Ensuring they buy into your corporate culture encourages continued loyalty, especially in your middle-management generation. To achieve that, you must ensure your company’s external brand positioning stands for something authentic and credible – and that you can articulate this in a simple, engaging way to existing and new employees.”

Hone their leadership skills
Soft skills are extremely important, particularly when it comes to leadership roles. Developing middle-managers by giving them extra responsibility is crucial to feeding that talent pipeline. Alistair says, “I would always recommend keeping your Millennial managers close to the very senior levels of your organisation. Involving them in senior-level meetings will both empower them and also provide a direct feedback loop into senior leadership on issues and ideas.”

Embrace the entrepreneurial mind-set
Many mid-level employees are moving away from corporate businesses and instead working for start-ups. This suggests that employees prefer the entrepreneurial spirit found at start-ups and corporate organisations must find a way of attracting these employees back – just because you’re a corporation doesn’t mean the workplace environment can’t be fun. Alistair adds, “Enabling them to act ‘like an owner’ will not only give them this control but also get the best out of them too, and will help to bring fresh thinking and new ideas to your business.”

Evolve your workplace
Businesses must ask themselves, what makes a workplace an attractive place to work? Many Millennials look for flexibility and so offering flexible or remote working can go a long way. Alistair adds, “There is a need to find a way of accommodating the Millennials’ desire for greater flexibility as it is real, it’s perfectly understandable and you will attract and retain them better if you can jointly find the optimal flexible options that meet everyone’s needs.”

Nurture your alumni
Despite a business’s best efforts some talent will always move on, this could be for many reasons, but it is important that it is on good terms. As those leaving the business can become external ambassadors and they may even return themselves one day. Alistair says, “Staff retention of strong performers should be the aim of every business, but it’s inevitable that some gifted employees will eventually move onto new pasture. Remember though that they may not be on your payroll anymore, but they are still potentially valuable to you.”

Attraction and retention of these important Millennials needs to be given some real thought by organisations before it is too late and the talent has headed for the exit. Alistair closes by saying, “With growing concerns around skills shortages in middle management and Millennial discontent seemingly at a tipping point, now is the time for businesses to act and start addressing these concerns.”

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

Hays is located in Kuala Lumpur at Suite 4 & 5, Level 23, Menara 3, Petronas, Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Phone +60 3 2786 8600 or email

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For further information please contact Esabella Yeung, Marketing Executive SEA, Asia at Hays, on +65 6424 0158 or


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