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The demise of the corporate ladder

The demise of the corporate ladder

The days of the corporate ladder are gone as generational needs evolve, requiring a different approach by firms in relation to talent development. Briana Everett reports.The world of work has…

The days of the corporate ladder are gone as generational needs evolve, requiring a different approach by firms in relation to talent development. Briana Everett reports.

The world of work has changed dramatically according to Deloitte's lead partner of human capital consulting, Nicky Wakefield, and the traditional corporate ladder is no longer relevant.

Wakefield says flattened hierarchies and evolving generational needs have contributed to the dramatic changes within the talent landscape, challenging the traditional talent development models which hinge on the "rungs of the ladder".

"The levels of hierarchy within organisations have absolutely declined and on average, companies have 25 per cent fewer organisational levels than they did 20 years ago," Wakefield says.

"And there [are] evolving generational needs. Historically we may have had one or two generations working together. We've now got the millennials working with veterans. You've got your baby boomers, the Gen Xs, the Gen Ys [and] we're holding on to our veterans for longer...

"It's really complex trying to manage all of those different generational needs together," she says.

Wakefield says firms must respond to the shifting landscape and recognise that the corporate ladder model no longer fits in order to man­age talent effectively.

"The corporate ladder is rooted in the industrial era and personally I think it's outdated," she says. "There's no doubt success is about a fat­ter title, about a bigger pay cheque. It's about power and prestige and they are the most prized rewards but not necessarily the top priorities of what people are after today."

Wakefield presented the con­cept of the corporate lattice as a way to achieve high performance in an organistion, labelling it as more apt in a landscape where people demand multidimensional careers.

"They want to have careers where they experience completely different things," she says. "They want to have careers where they learn and develop."

Unlike the corporate ladder, the corporate lattice model has a flatter, matrix structure allowing for multi-directional career paths, integration of career and life. "[The corporate lattice] recognises that different things motivate different people.

"We need to use the technol­ogy we've got and make work more about what we do [rather than a place we go] and more out­put focused rather than input focused. I think it's a big shift but countries that are doing it are doing it with great success."

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