Dear PPMA colleagues and friends,

Our blog post this week focuses on the launch of our Multigenerational Workforces research. We are delighted to be working with Jobsgopublic on this important research and are looking forward to the initial insights this work will be revealing.

The idea for this research came from one of our PPMA members at Lincolnshire County Council, who initially suggested at this year’s conference that we look at the experiences of older employees in the public sector. Not too long ago, we were looking at early retirement opportunities and pensions limits as a way to facilitate a planned turnover in the workforce. The idea was that this demographic change would provide additional opportunities for people to join the public sector.

As we know the best-laid plans often turn to dust! We’ve seen over the last years a number of significant challenges to the assumptions and concerns of Heads of HR and OD. The reality is that as the retirement age has increased, as people are living older, as financial challenges have hit many families, it is no longer a safe assumption that much of our older workforce will be able to retire early, or even want to retire early. Attitudes have also changed. The baby boomer years are well and truly over for a range of reasons and we have to adjust to that.

We thought this was an important area to progress. But following additional discussions with PPMA Policy Board members, we felt it was important to look a little bit more broadly. There has been much consideration given across public sector and CIPD over the last few years about whether our organisations actually make the best of our older colleagues. They have an absolute wealth of experience, wisdom, learning, and passion still for public sector. It makes no sense at all for any HR & OD professional – or any senior leader for that matter – to ignore this. One thing we know for sure is that we will all age, but that does not automatically mean our ideas, passion or contribution will diminish.

Alongside this, we also know we have an enormous challenge in both attracting young people into Public Sector and keeping them once they join. We started to mull over how we can best support our younger people and utiltise the knowledge of our older more experienced colleagues. By the way we’re going to be do something really exciting on youth employability in the public sector in the run up to Karen’s conference next year.

The purpose then of the joint PPMA: Jobsgopublic research is to look at attitudes and expectations of different demographics within our workforces, but particularly focus on younger and older groups. We already know a lot about what drives millennials, generation Z etc in their workplace choices but we want to look at whether there are specific considerations we need to take into account in attracting younger employees and then integrating them into the workforce.

Within this, we can examine how we identify, understand and respond to attitudes towards retirement amongst older colleagues. And we can also consider the impact on women having children later and people joining from other sectors and potentially not having the same pension pots as longer serving employees do. All of these topics are presenting an increasing challenge to workforce leaders and we have to think through some pretty fundamental changes to what we do today.

Olivia Harris, Head of Marketing at Jobsgopublic, told us how pleased they are to be involved with this research and that a lot of work has already been done behind the scenes to design two surveys which are focused on the younger and older workforce groups. Working with together with us, they have developed these two initial surveys which will help to tease out some of the key issues that matter to these age groups. Once the data has been gathered, they can then formulate some further research questions and will look at how they conduct the research to ensure that it’s practical, engaging and will ensure we get as wide a participation as possible.

The surveys will be issued through both the Jobsgopublic and PPMA websites and social media channels, but you can access both surveys below:

SURVEY: 16 – 24 year olds

SURVEY: 50+ year olds

We will let you know when we need responses back and what will happen next, but we really hope that as many of you as possible will participate in this research programme.”

We’ll keep you up to date with regular progress updates on our website.