As Gen-Z floods into the workforce freshly minted from a wide swath of academic institutions, they are thrust immediately into the trenches of a multi-generational workforce. With the typical retirement age inching up year by year due to staggering inflation, some businesses are experiencing 40-year age gaps within divisions – or even within teams.
In finance and accounting jobs in particular, these blended labor force demographics are creating cultural differences that impact workplace dynamics. That being said, age disparities within an organization can be leveraged as a powerful tool. With varying experience levels come varied insights, which can help create a fresh and diverse outlook.
What Veteran Professionals Can Learn
When placed alongside 20-somethings, older finance and accounting professionals can sometimes slip into condescension and dismissiveness. However, if they can adopt humility and learn to be active listeners, they can stand to benefit from the unique perspectives of younger professionals.
1. Technology Is a Powerful Tool
It can be difficult to teach an old dog new tricks, but technology has never been more approachable and user-friendly. Veteran finance and accounting professionals should lean into the capabilities of new software, which can help them better serve their clients, protect their data, streamline their schedules and optimize their lives. By remaining open to tech advancements from younger generations, seasoned vets could save themselves time and effort.
2. Working Smarter Can Help
While old-school work ethic still has its advantages, innovative and creative solutions can sometimes offer improved insights in a fraction of the time. The benefit of working with younger professionals is that their habits and approaches are not influenced by decades of repeated actions. This allows them to navigate problems with fresh eyes, sometimes providing better and smarter solutions.
3. Be Your Own Advocate
A few decades ago, loyalty to the company flag was cherished across industries. In a multi-generational workforce, younger employees have learned to look out for their own interests and to negotiate for their protection. As companies grow larger, some fall victim to becoming less personal. New accounting and finance professionals have a keen awareness of their value as employees and as people, which helps them to more effectively lobby for their compensation, benefits and work schedules. Veteran employees can take heed of this inclination and become their own advocates in the corporate landscape.
What New Professionals Can Learn
On the flip side, younger professionals don’t know it all. With decades of experience comes volumes of wisdom. One of the most valuable investments new professionals can make in their careers is to tap into the experience and insights of their older colleagues.
1. Market Changes Are Inevitable
Those who are just entering the workforce now may be frightened at the prospect of a potential recession. Tainted by the recent pandemic, their view of the marketplace may be jaded. However, veteran professionals can provide consolation and perspective because they have more work experience. Older workers offer a steady and stalwart presence because they had to witness and work through the housing crisis, the dot-com bubble and various geopolitical conflicts. Older teammates can be turned to for their counsel as labor force demographics change.
2. Communication Still Matters
Having grown up in an era of handwritten letters and printed publications, many veteran professionals have a familiarity and skill with the written word that younger professionals simply can’t match. New accounting and finance workers should study and emulate the communication practices of their well-spoken mentors. Excellent writing and communicative ability are major pluses and these abilities can be honed using the resources around them–namely, older colleagues.
3. Experience Has Its Place
The best kind of training is on-the-job, trial by fire experience. When learning how to make a sale, handle a client fiasco, find a hidden answer, or manage a relationship, younger workers should leverage the experience of their older counterparts. Veteran finance and accounting professionals have amassed a library of lessons and tips that can save hours of time and stress. In most accounting and finance jobs, there are elements of the role that are honed and perfected over time. Use the experiences of your mentors as guidance during this period of learning and growth.
Find The Right Finance or Accounting Job
If you are looking to advance in your career through an exciting new role, we can help. You can land the accounting or finance job that suits your career objectives with the right approach and the right search partner. At Pinnacle, our team specializes in sourcing the most sought-after finance and accounting opportunities Pittsburgh has to offer. We strive to do right by our clients and candidates, every time.
Our comprehensive executive search process will help ensure a lasting, mutually beneficial fit between you and your future employer. We will put you and your career aspirations first, from start to finish. Contact us today to start your search.