Why ‘Generation Z’ should be the new focus for leadership development in healthcare

Generation Z – those workers born between 1994 and 2000 – are the latest to enter the jobs market and may well be the key to addressing the skills shortages and aging workforce prevalent in healthcare today.

While the oldest members of this digital generation are currently only 21 years of age, they are soon to enter the workforce and are of course the future generation of managerial staff within the sector. Given the level of responsibility that these individuals will one day inherit, should more attention be focused on this generation instead of Generation Y?

Of course, Generation Z currently presents a problem to managers – they are young, untested and inexperienced. However, at the same time, they also present an opportunity, particularly when you consider that 93% of UK businesses fear that they will be held back by an impending shortage of skilled managers. If new hires are reached early enough, they can be moulded towards leadership positions.

In an age where the skills shortage leads to one in five of all vacancies remaining unfilled in the UK, proper management of existing workforces is of utmost priority. With the currently aging population, it is expected that a staff shortfall will be a more prominent result in the future. For example, a shortfall of 130,000 nurses has been predicted by 2025.

As such, developing existing workforces is becoming increasingly important – heading off the skills shortage before it develops further is the long-term thinking that the healthcare industry needs to adopt if it is to thrive in the future.

Indeed, the focus needs to be on the future. We have a skill shortage now, yes, but we also simultaneously have the means to solve it. A need for increased recruitment across all fronts in the medical sector is a given, albeit one with no current logistic solution. Until that issue is resolved, the future of the industry is in the hands of its leaders – the workload will not decrease, but will need to become more efficiently handled.

Generation Y is the current generation inheriting managerial positions, but soon the focus will shift to their younger counterparts. By identifying skilled managerial candidates and developing them now, we become best placed to deal with the increasing skill shortage within the industry.