Generation X higher up the hire list for half of all UK SMEs

POSTED: 28th December 2018
IN: Newsroom
  • Almost half (47%) of all UK SME business leaders believe those of generation X - those aged between 35 and 54 - have the greatest industry knowledge
  • Half (50%) admit current generation X employees are the most focussed of age groups
  • However, over a fifth (21%) of all UK SME bosses find this generation the most difficult to recruit

Aldermore’s latest Future Attitudes report has found that half (50%) the bosses of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK - equating to 600,000 businesses* with fewer than 250 employees, say that out of all potential recruits, those from generation X top their hire list. This compares to less than a third (30%) who prefer to employ millennials** and less than one in ten (7%) who prefer their staff to be between the ages of 55 – 74.

This favourability towards those aged between 35 and 54 is due to many different reasons. Almost half (47%) of business leaders think they have the greatest industry knowledge, with a  further two in five (40%) believing they are the hardest workers. A third (34%) also point to their trustworthiness.

These factors are further validated with over half (53%) of business leaders stating that current generation X employees are the most productive, with exactly one in two (50%) believing they are also the most focussed. Furthermore, nearly half (48%) admit they have the greatest work ethic.

Carl D’Ammassa, Group Managing Director, Business Finance at Aldermore, said: “When looking to bring in new talent, it is not surprising that small business owners are looking for employees with good sector knowledge and a wealth of experience. However, it is important that they recognise the benefits that can come with hiring younger staff, in terms of a fresh approach to the workplace.”

Generation X individuals may be the most attractive of new hires for the UK small business industry, however they are also one of the most problematic to recruit. Over a fifth (21%) of business leaders admit to finding recruiting them difficult, with this figure increasing further to nearly a third (32%) for medium sized businesses, those who employ between 50 – 249 staff members.

Carl D’Ammassa adds: “Attracting and hiring the best industry talent can be a tough task, yet the long-term benefits that even a single new staff member can bring to a business can be very significant. And if an employer can tailor a role specifically for a new employee, this will ensure that the recruitment process will be more successful in the longer term. There is no doubt that having a diverse workforce with different perspectives drives innovation and problem-solving, which is why hiring employees with different skills and levels of experience is so important”.


For further information, journalists can contact:

Carmel McCarthy, Aldermore
Phone:            020 3553 4216
Mobile:            07464 644754

Twitter:             @aldermorenews

 Notes to Editors:

* SMEs figure – calculated using ONS statistics that say the UK has 1.4m SMEs (2017 figures). Aldermore Future Attitudes research showed that 50% of SMEs would prefer to hire staff from generation X. A weighted average of the 50% (43% for micro, 53% for small and 58% for medium) was applied to the 1.4m = 600,000 businesses.

**Those ages between 18 – 34 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, conducted by Opinium Research between 10 and 16 July 2018 with a nationally representative sample size of 1,002 senior decision makers in UK SMEs.

For further information about Aldermore, please review our Notes to Editors page.

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