Press releases

It’s not just about pay: employee journeys based on age groups can improve the attractiveness of Swiss employers

Zurich/Geneva, 30 April 2019

  • Swiss employees view competent leadership, a clear definition of responsibilities and being trusted by colleagues and supervisors as the top three motivating factors at work.
  • Job security and remuneration rank lower in the list compared to other European countries such as Germany and France (where remuneration is at #1).
  • The differences between age groups are striking: Remuneration and scope for development are much more important to the under-35s than to the over 55s. Meaningful work heads the list for older workers, whereas for millennials, it ranks at only 6th place.
  • Companies should view their workforce more as customers and focus on positive ‘employee experience’ reflecting the specific wants and needs of the different groups of workers.
  • This and more in the new Deloitte study gauging the attitudes of the workforce, based on a survey of 15,000 people across Europe, including 1,000 respondents in Switzerland.

We all know and feel it: The Swiss labour market is undergoing continual structural change, with roles and occupations changing and, with them, the demands made on workers. But also the needs, attitudes and motivating factors of the workforce are shifting. To recruit and retain staff in an increasingly competitive labour market, companies need to make better use of so far unexploited pools of labour and ever more to tune in the voice of the workforce. 

“It’s clear, the more motivated a company’s employees are, the more likely they are to be willing to stay with the company. They are also more likely to be willing to undergo appropriate continuing training or upskilling and even continue working beyond retirement age. As research shows, a motivated workforce is crucial to the financial success of companies operating in a highly competitive environment,” notes Myriam Denk, Leader of Deloitte Switzerland’s Future of Work practice. 

Leadership and trust over remuneration and stability 

According to the Deloitte study gauging the attitudes of the workforce, Swiss employees view competent leadership, a clear definition of responsibilities and being trusted by colleagues and supervisors as the top three motivating factors at work. In most European countries, job security and stability and remuneration rank first or second, whereas in Switzerland these factors rank much lower.  

“This difference may be attributable to the high average salary levels and low unemployment we face in Switzerland,” explains Michael Grampp, Head of Research at Deloitte Switzerland and author of the study. “Compared to other countries, the Swiss workforce is also less career oriented. Career path prospects in the company, ‘being my own boss’ and leading teams rank much lower than the other European countries surveyed for the study. In a prosperous economy, other motivating factors gain in significance,” he adds.

Millennials rank development and remuneration high – older workers purpose 

There are striking differences in motivating factors depending on age groups: To Swiss millennials, job security and stability is much more important than to the generation over-55s. The younger generation also values remuneration and scope for development stronger than the older generation. These results are in line with those of the 2018 Deloitte Millennial survey. On their part, the over-55s are significantly less concerned about job security than other age groups, while they value higher doing a meaningful work that matches their personal values.

Interestingly, flexible working hours ranks quite low for all age categories. Still, given the choice, 62% of survey respondents would opt for less traditional employment models. A significant proportion of full-time employees – around 25% – would not want to work part-time but would prefer to be self-employed or freelance, or to have some kind of combination of employment and self-employment.

“The results of the study evidence the need for companies to invest in an approach that focuses on the full spectrum of employee experience and motivation, taking account of all the factors that contribute to employee satisfaction, commitment, well-being and productivity,” asserts Michael Grampp.

Personalised models of employment to attract and retain employees 

Rethinking their traditional models of employment and offering new ones, employers can boost workforce motivation. “Like the ’customer experience’ in marketing, companies should enforce a positive ’employee experience’ reflecting the full range of employee perceptions and experiences at work. Concretely, the appropriate conditions need to be created to reflect the needs of all age groups. On this basis, working time, workplace arrangements and job content can then be adapted,” explains Myriam Denk. 

To comprehensively understand the motivating factors and expectations of employees, companies can use a wide range of digital tools and apps. Based on the results, employee journeys can be identified for different age groups and used as fundamentals for specific measures.  

In terms of remuneration, more could be done to develop a personalised and holistic compensation system that reflects a range of preferences. For example, employees could be given the choice between various pay components. The inclusion of part-time working, freelancing and portfolio careers, could help companies to better attract young parents or encourage older employees to continue working beyond retirement age. Also, the outcomes could also be used by executives to lead effectively against the backdrop of digitalisation and diversity. 

Did you find this useful?