In our recently launched report entitled “Futures: Our Changing World,” one of the areas we focus on is how to win the war for talent in today’s environment and looking ahead at what’s to come.

The importance of how new generations are affecting the current talent pool and the industry as a whole is something that is being widely investigated by companies and organizations around the world. There is evidence to show that our industry in particular is significantly populated by those who are “greying”. If we are to enter the next decade and beyond, we have to focus on the next group of subject matter experts that will represent the industry and RICS. Those people are collectively described as Millennials, a group who are entering the workforce with a very different approach to work, use of technology and work-life balance.

There have been myriad studies that suggest the stark differences in approach, and have honed in especially on the tech savvy that accompanies this new generation of workers. What is yet to be explored is how exactly to capitalize on the particular strengths of what some say are up to ‘four generations in the workplace.’ At our recent LA2015 Summit of the Americas, Jim Kruse, Senior Managing Director of CBRE, made an important observation on the growing generational gaps in the workplace: 'Working experience is a critical thing. Now there are [many good] resumes but no work experience. Marrying up brilliant youth with seniority is powerful.' The positive impact of diversity of backgrounds, cultures and beliefs on finding creative solutions is well known, and it seems that we can now add generational diversity to the list.

On a related note, technology features much more in the daily lives of companies than it ever has, something that the generally older populations of RICS members are adapting to, just as their employers, but technology is something our Millennials are very accustomed to dealing with already. Every pathway is affected in some way by the changing use of technology and the digital age and some are affected greatly, such as QS (BIM)and Valuation pathways. Every RICS member is being affected by the plethora of data that is becoming available, and will have to pay special attention as to the best way to use it and not allow it to overwhelm. 

Regardless of specific area of expertise, there is one unifying factor: we all are being affected by the development of new tools that allow us to generate data to improve the quality and efficiency of our roles.  We will have to keep up to date with the changes in order to learn how to best harness these modern tools that can make our work and our lives better and, potentially, easier. However, whilst it has become very simple to gather data, the ability to effectively analyze it comes with experience, and it is on that playing field that the more seasoned RICS members and the Millennials must learn to operate together more effectively. Learning to combine our existing wealth of experience and instinct with the power of fact-based and data-driven decision-making will no doubt make the more experienced generations an incredibly valuable asset for any company or organization to have.

Finally, as we stay current, we will need to expand our efforts to attract and retain the brightest of the Millennial labor force, both in our companies and within RICS itself. We heard at the LA2015 summit last month that a serious initiative needs to begin now if we are to expand our membership efforts within the Millennial group, including greater and more targeted use of social media and technology in order to attract interest from those who will, after all, be the future leaders of the industry.

Peter Smith FRICS, US Country Chair and Executive Director of National Property Tax at EY

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