Plural events and the generation gap

Plural events and the generation gap

* By Luciane Leite

Brazil is getting older. The declaration is an observation that was made by the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), which projects that by the year 2060, 32% of Brazil’s population will be aged 60 or above. There are many factors that point to this natural aging of the country’s population – including the increase in life expectancy and the decrease in the birth rate.

Up until 1980, when analysing the average age of Brazilians, the graph showed a pyramid aspect, revealing a much larger population in terms of young people than of the elderly. In the current graph, the groups aged between 25 and 54 are already more representative, and this also has an impact on the workforce that the country has at its disposal.

After all, are we prepared to employ such different generations?

This question can be seen throughout this discussion, but it also goes beyond it. Are companies considering hiring human capital over 45? The two questions seem to speak of opposite universes, but in reality they refer to a commonplace and current work environment.

If, on the one hand, we have got young people aged between 20 and 25 who have not got much experience and as a result of this have little opportunity to work in the labour market. On the other hand, we have more mature professionals who have the knowledge, background and expertise and who are only too willing to fill job positions that companies do not give them on account of their age.

Slightly more often these days, I am happy to say that I am hearing reports of companies that are beginning to get the idea and are hiring professionals over the age of 50, which gives me hope, whilst at the same they are giving young people who are starting their careers the opportunity to learn, develop and improve in the job market.

The reality is no different in the tourism industry or in the shows and events sector. And at this point, we come back to the first question: are we prepared to employ and manage people from such different generations?

We should be! The plurality of generations increasingly needs to be viewed as a natural development and one that offers opportunities. The different ways of thinking, each person’s experiences and way of seeing and positioning themselves in the world moves us away from the ordinary and leads us to improve processes and even make relationships more human.

More than a discussion about the different generations, the market needs to look at, understand and absorb manpower that has different profiles. The presence of the LGBTQ+ community, different races and different beliefs all coexisting in the same environment, among other factors, generate – in the same way as a multidisciplinary approach among working groups – solutions and innovations for the market with different possibilities and strands that interact and converge with the changes in the market and in people’s behaviour.

The study Delivering Through Diversity, in relation to diversity, which was carried out in 12 countries and presented by the consulting firm McKinsey and Co., provided valuable insights for this discussion. Out of the roughly 1,000 global companies that were analysed, the companies that exhibited the greatest diversity in terms of profiles were also the most profitable ones.

Multinational companies manage to achieve a clearer stance in relation to defining inclusion policies and the Brazilian market needs to pay close attention to this question of plurality and diversity.

Both the tourism industry as well as the shows and events sector, in which I as a professional operate, should have a commitment to developing inclusion policies for this amalgamation of generations or even make them so natural that the policy is simply a reminder of what seems to be the right thing to do.

The American market already has laws that can be enforced. That’s why they are more mature when it comes to hiring people over 50. Other countries such as Singapore, for example, where the pyramid is already inverted have also adapted to this demand.

Combining the experience of people who are familiar with the obstacles faced by the economic sectors and the problems that the market has to deal with, with the renewal of ideas as a result of the arrival in the sector of generations that have plenty of energy to renovate, learn and, in particular, mature as professionals, creates a positive reference for the continuity both of the market as well as of the best practices adopted.

We know the strength and potential of tourism and of the shows and events segment for the country. There are millions of jobs that are generated directly and indirectly, a bustling economy and a flawless capacity to adapt to changing demands and times.

Shedding light on the question of diversity and the real gains that can be achieved as a result of this action is a differential that will generate even greater competitiveness and social responsibility for this chain. It is worth reflecting on and, in particular the benchmarking in those companies and countries that already have this commitment to make the labour market increasingly plural. To let you in on a secret, here at Reed Exhibitions, we have already put this more careful and transparent approach into practice.

* Luciane Leite is the Director of WTM Latin America, Latin America’s leading B2B Tourism Event

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