New research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows that businesses recognise the benefits of age diversity in the workplace but must prepare carefully for the realisation of a “4G” future.

The “4G” future is one where employees from four different generations will work side by side for the first time in history, a concept originally proposed by UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES). The research suggests that a “4G” future means businesses will be at a competitive disadvantage and experience further skills shortages, unless they start planning for the changes now.

CIPD’s study of nearly 3000 employees and over 900 employers found that almost a third of employees saw no challenges whatsoever in working with colleagues from different generations, with employers and employees in agreement that knowledge sharing and greater innovation are by far the leading benefits. Additionally, one fifth of employers (22 percent) reported that they have no regulation in place to ensure employees of all ages develop and keep their skills up to date, while almost half (46 percent) said that line managers are not trained in managing teams of different generations and that they have no plans to change this.

Steve Way, Human Resources Manager at Aquaterra Energy, said: “Aquaterra Energy fully supports diversity in the workforce and recognises that a multi-generational workplace is vital to increasing productivity and ending the skills shortage in the UK industry.

“Through our highly successful apprenticeship programme, Aquaterra Energy provides vital work experience and career guidance for young men and women entering the oil and gas industry, who work with experienced engineers to solve real problems in a variety of locations across the world.