Managing people

Tech boom sparks generational divide

New research shows the rapid advancement of technology is causing a generational divide in workplaces. 

31 January 2024

New research shows the rapid advancement of technology is causing a generational divide in Australian workplaces. 

Since 2020 digital adoption has accelerated in all businesses and industries. Now as artificial intelligence seeps into industries and hybrid structures take hold, experts urge companies to bridge gaps to sustain organisational capability. 

A new survey, by software site Capterra,  reveals 85% of participants believe job skills are becoming more reliant on the use of digital tools. And 83% believe their company should provide greater support as new technology is introduced.

HR consultant and onboarding expert, Greg Weiss, said: “Technology is transforming organisations – faster and more diverse than ever. Communication, collaboration, financial savings, productivity, and security are underpinning these shifts and forming the catalyst for change.”

The top three challenges identified in the speed of digital transformation were:

  • the usage gap among employees (36%)
  • limited access to resources or training (35%) and
  • the constant introduction of new tools making it difficult to adapt (32%). 

While millennials are naturally inclined to digital tools (87%), interestingly, baby boomers and Generation Z are equally drawn to new technology (85%).

“The appetite is definitely there. It’s a matter of how these employees are facilitated and bridging the digital generation gap is crucial. A cookie-cutter approach to training and support doesn’t work in a divergent workforce – as their alignment differs,” says Weiss, founder of Career365.

To maximise the adoption of digital tools, 58% prefer on-site training, which demonstrates how a combination of digital and non-digital platforms can flourish in a hybrid working arrangement.

While the generational gap and limited access to training resources pose challenges, finding the right balance in digital tool adoption can create benefits. These include increased efficiency, reduced paperwork, and savings on work hours. There is potential to foster this environment as all generations prefer to manage their tasks digitally, including 35% of Generation X individuals, a slightly higher percentage compared to 31% of millennials who expressed this preference.

For baby boomers, brainstorming (37%), performance reviews (38%), and team-building sessions (37%) are preferred in-person, while Generation Z also prefers in-person team building (39%), training (34%), and brainstorming (31%). Digital performance reviews (28%) are preferred by Generation Z.

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