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Four-generational working could soon become the norm

Published: 6 March 2014
A report into the future of the UK's labour market reveals that within the next two decades it could become four-generational, with great-grandparents potentially working alongside their great-grandchildren.
Four-generational working could soon become the norm
The report undertaken by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) says the '4G' workplace could become reality as people extend their retirement and work until their 80s.

Four-generational working is beginning to make an appearance in sectors dependent on part-time, evening and weekend shifts, with retail leading the way.

With around 30% of its workforce over 50, B&Q has long been advocates of employing the older generation.

In 1989 the DIY retailer opened two stores entirely staffed by over-50s. Its current oldest employee is Stanley Collins, who works at the Guildford store at the age of 88.

Commenting on the report Toby Peyton-Jones, director of human resources for Siemens in the UK and North-West Europe, and a commissioner at UKCES, said: "This is one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind and gives us an informed opinion of the way we might all live and work in the future.

"For example, if four-generation workplaces become commonplace, it will be the first time in human history that this has happened. What are the implications of that? Will we see inter-generational stress and culture clashes or will this prove to be a positive tension that is part of a wider diversity trend that will drive innovation?"

The report also suggests that in the future the role of women in the workplace will strengthen and technology will continue to evolve, with multimedia 'virtual' work becoming the norm.

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