Much has been written about the more diverse range of skills and experience many companies now seek within their retail executive search activities. There is a marked shift away from people who have stayed in one lane during their career, and increased appetite for decisionmakers and leaders with vision, who are tech-savvy, innovative and entrepreneurial. 

These are often drawn from Generation X, candidates born roughly 1965-1980, who are happy to change jobs more frequently to vary their experience, and who draw their ideas and inspiration from having a robust life outside of their office.

What motivates Generation X?

For retailers currently recruiting, this adds an interesting dynamic to what they offer, to ensure they can attract the ‘brightest and best’ of these potential managers. 

Work-life balance is extremely important to this age group, and they tend to be around the age when parenthood becomes a priority. So, forward-looking employers need to be acutely aware of the family factor.

Fortunately, communications technology has made it easy to accommodate remote working from home and more flexible working patterns.

However, to attract and retain high-calibre candidates UK retail companies also need to up their game on less ‘evolutionary’ employment benefits. This includes, for example, generous family-related leave allowances, paternity and adoption leave policies and more flexibility around start and finish times to accommodate childcare arrangements.

The importance of creating the right culture

Not that this talent pool is workshy. Far from it, as social studies show that Generation X candidates are willing to work long hours for employers who earn their loyalty and recognise their contribution.

Much of it comes down to the importance of offering an authentically inclusive and holistic culture. 

According to a Deloitte study, 94% of executives and 88% of the rest of workforces value a distinct workplace culture and believe it’s important to business success. This is expressed in terms of engagement, feeling valued and having a clear grasp of the role they play in working towards company aims and objectives.

Why change jobs if your new post has the potential to leave you unfilled and unhappy, which will impact on your home life too?

What about the next generation of executives?

This need to factor in family commitments is unlikely to dissipate with up and coming managerial candidates. In fact, the importance of home-life balance and feeling happy at work is accentuated in Millenials (or Generation Y). They appear even more inclined to change roles often in search of employers who recognise they are building a lifestyle, not just a career. They want to work for companies who recognise they have personal goals, as well as professional ones.

In fact, according to a YouGov survey, millennials value their work-life balance more than job security!

For more of the values that employers need to demonstrate for an effective retail executive search, contact Anthony Gregg.