Farrah Beveridge

With four generations in the workforce professional services firms have an opportunity to release the strength of each to contribute to serving clients. 

Farrah Beveridge, who is hiring the future – or Generation Next – at international network firm RSM, says that coaching and guiding will be required to create teams that will perform.

Questions will arise over differences in style and learning preferences across the different generations. But it should be possible to set out a vision of a common, unifying purpose. And by harnessing the experience of older generations, younger entrants to the workforce can be prepared for leadership roles.

Whatever generational labels are given, Farrah says that one of the key opportunities is cross-generational mentoring. Millennials just entering the workforce could, for instance, 'reverse mentor' older workers helping them to learn about digital, automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as these emerging technologies begin to make a real impact in the work place. 

Farrah says: "The younger generation has always had such a high level of technology exposure that they are in the best place to look at the impact on us as a business and sector."

Farrah is National Student Resourcing Lead in the UK, as well as RSM brand ambassador and CSR, (Corporate Social Responsibility) champion. From her experience she says that one of the key tasks facing society is to try and make young people work ready, which she sees education as playing an important role in.

Yet she also recognises that young entrants to the job market cannot emerge from education 100% job-ready. She says; "The skills gap is real. As employers we need to understand what we want from the young people who are coming in. We also need to help them achieve what they want once they are with us."

To do this every service line needs to focus on what it requires from employees. At the same time employers need to work hard to see the potential. They can’t hire fantastic ready-made auditors, but they should be able to see that with the right professional qualification, mentoring and training, firms such as RSM can create excellent auditors. Farrah says: "At RSM we have to understand that is our responsibility and we have to ensure we do it."

Farrah sees that younger generations may not plan as far ahead as previous ones. Firms should be able to accommodate those sorts of differences and choices. Farrah says: "Wherever they have come from and however they learn we need to make sure young people understand who they are and what they could do."