How South Florida Companies Can Attract & Retain Multi-Generational Talent

South Florida has a great brand. Sunshine, travel, and an active night-life scene makes the South Florida area one of the most sought after places to live in the United States. Yet how do companies in Miami-Dade, Broward, and West Palm Beach counties attract talented professionals? Moreover, with Florida tech salaries 20% lower than the national average, how do companies retain these talented technology professionals?

Florida State: Technological Summary

In a 2017 Cyberstates report by CompTIA, Florida is ranked 3rd in the nation for new business establishments.

Florida also places as the 4th in the nation for tech employment rank, with 318,343 workers in the field of technology and a total number of 30,721 tech business establishments in the state. However, the state’s average technology wage rank is 23rd, leaving wages something to be desired in the sunshine state. Reasons frequently cited for Florida’s lower tech wages are the absence of state income tax and a lower cost of living when compared to other tech hubs nationwide. That being said, technology wages are 86% higher in technology when compared to the average state wage:

And although the state has a large number of technology companies (30,721) they tend to be smaller companies by employment. Given this stark reality in wages, how do companies attract – and retain – engineers, developers, architects and analysts?

How to Retain Employees Without Breaking the Bank

Incentivising workers goes beyond high salaries. An article by Forbes found that some low-cost way of rewarding employees include recognition, a one-on-one lunch, and earnest thanks for a job well done.  

All people are different. While facing a tighter labor market it becomes imperative to learn what motivates each and every worker so that managers can tailor their approach to their employee. We all transition through various life stages so a workers’ motivations will change.

Who is more likely to jump on a new project that requires an extra 5 hours of work a week: a new graduate craving real-world work experience, or a candidate that has been working with the same company, working within the same infrastructure for 10 to 15 years with little advancement in their career?

Who is more likely to be motivated by health-care benefits: a fit bachelor who doesn’t miss a gym workout, or a perpetual contractor that is looking for stability once having attained a credible track record?

As recruiters specializing in technology roles here in the South Florida market, we see professionals at every stage of their career. To further understand how to reduce turnover and increase retention in organizations, it becomes necessary to understand each and every worker, their career stage and their values. By taking the time to empathize, managers can better understand the inherent needs of their staff.

Generations Currently in the Workforce

The below graph characterizes the various generations currently in the workplace whilst listing their attitudes, communication style, and career aspirations. (Source: Glassdoor)

Work Schedule

How Millennials, Boomers, and Gen X describe their partner’s work schedule. (Source)

What Motivates Baby Boomers?

This study by the Society for Human Resource Management lists top reasons why Baby Boomers stay in organizations.

What Motivates Millennials?

The oldest members of the Millennial generation are now in their mid-thirties, and many are in middle management and even senior leadership roles. According to EY 62% of Millennials are managing the work of others. We are coming to a point where Millennials will replace Gen-X as the bulk of the working world.

You may have to tilt your head to read this – but the two things Millennials surveyed here want most are 1. Training and Development and 2. Flexible Working Hours (Source: PwC)

Keep in mind that Millennials’ mounting responsibilities juxtapose the recent work-life balance trends like flex time and remote work, luxuries not seen by Baby Boomers and Gen-X. The option to work remotely, or work outside traditional office hours is an amenity that can be leveraged to keep Millennials and Gen Z around.

What Motivates Generation Z?

One of the most groundbreaking pieces of information to come about in Q2-2017 is a slide-deck by Glassdoor titled 10 Tips for Getting Campus Recruiting Right. We recommend recruiters, hiring managers, and HR staff go through this presentation if their organization is hiring high school and early college students.

Gen Z grew up in a time of global terrorism, Brexit, and a Trump election. With machine learning and automation set to replace both blue collar and white collar jobs, Gen Z looks to stable companies that can set a chartered path for their career ahead.

In order to retain Gen Z and reduce turnover within companies, Glassdoor recommends creating career paths. Below is a sample career path for a customer success representative. Job responsibilities are mapped out at the 6-month, 1-year, 18-month, and 2-year stage. This communicates to a candidate interested in entertaining a customer success role that there is a future at the company – and that their skillsets will not stagnate.

We also recommend reading a study by Accenture titled Gen Z Rising.

Conclusion: Retention in Technology Is Not Rocket Science

Although individual needs differ, retention in companies comes back to the basics: fair wages, opportunities to grow and develop one’s skillset, a fair work-life balance, and a good relationship with one’s immediate manager. At the end of the day, we all respond to human connection.

Octagon Technology Staffing’s mission is to humanize tech recruiting through the hiring and training of highly talented full-service cognitive recruiters and tech education events in South Florida’s community.