During the 3rd Food and Beverage Industry Summit, the session “Understanding the New Generations to Encourage Growth” was moderated by María del Carmen Bernal, Director of the CIMAD at IPADE and featured Mónica Flores, President of ManpowerGroup Latin America and Olga González, Sustainability Manager at the PepsiCo México Foundation.
Mónica Flores, President of ManpowerGroup Latin America, took the stage first. Ms. Flores opened by assuring the audience that a focus on demographic issues is a focus on the company’s bottom line. Turnover, unfilled positions, and friction between management and employees all come at a high cost for the company, but these issues can be mitigated by a more in-depth understanding of a company’s employees. According to Ms. Flores, there are currently four macrotrends that are strongly influencing the marketplace. The first is increased client sophistication, e.g. a customer’s ability to compare and learn more about products online prior to purchasing. The second is personal choice, e.g. an extreme number of choices and opportunities are now available to the consumer. The third is the technological revolution, and the fourth is demographics and scarcity of talent.
Ms. Flores focused on the last macrotrend, demographics and scarcity of talent. According to a study conducted by Manpower, 40% of companies surveyed in Latin America struggled to find appropriate candidates for their available positions. Ms. Flores used this finding to reinforce the idea that focusing on the incoming generations (Millennials and Generation Z) isn’t just a side project to coddle young people, but is in fact a crucial business decision. If companies do not focus on the incoming generations, then they will lose out on valuable business opportunities.
The President of ManpowerGroup Latin America provided the audience a rundown of the different generations currently active in the workplace or soon to enter the workplace, including the Silent Generation (born 1945 or before), the Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964), Generation X (born 1965 to 1976), Millennials (born 1977 to 1995), and Generation Z/Centennials (born 1996 and later). By 2020, the workforce will consist of 6% Baby Boomers, 35% Gen X, 35% Millennials, and 24% Gen Z. By 2030, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce.
Ms. Mónica primary takeaway was that going forward, standardization would no longer apply in any company process, including recruitment, benefits, management, etc. Rather, Ms. Flores proposed replacing the existing “one-size-fits-all” system with a “one-size-fits-one” system to better accommodate the needs of incoming generations, and highlighted the top five priorities for Millennials when looking for a new job: money, job security/career security, freedom and days off, opportunity to work with extraordinary people, and flexible work. Companies must adapt to these emerging priorities in order to attract and retain talent.
Olga González, Sustainability Manager at the PepsiCo México Foundation, then took the stage to share with the audience the ways in which PepsiCo is attracting young talent by focusing on diversity and inclusion, and how it is engaging with diverse audiences and employees across age, race, sexual orientation, etc. Ms. Gonzalez highlighted a yearlong internal internship program specifically designed for Millennials where each participant is chosen via a rigorous selection process and spends six months working on a particular team and six months working on another. The program puts significant emphasis on mentorship and hands-on managing, and the purpose of this program is to train participants for their eventual integration into the company as full-time employees while also identifying the right area for them and giving them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the company culture.
The session then opened up to questions from the audience.