Gender, leadership and inclusion

Cranfield’s Gender, Leadership and Inclusion Centre (GLIC) is a thriving community of researchers and practitioners investigating factors influencing equality, diversity and inclusion at work, interrogating power and privilege, and lobbying for and pioneering solutions for a more representative workforce with full and effective participation and equal access to opportunities for all.

The centre’s aims are to:

  • Advise organisations on contemporary developments in diversity in all its forms, including intersectionality, privilege, and inclusive leadership,
  • Collaborate with industry to identify and analyse equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) issues relevant to practitioners,
  • Produce high-quality academic research in partnership with organisations, policymakers and research councils,
  • Disseminate our research insights for evidence-based solutions and practical impact,
  • Feed our thought leadership into executive education on gender, leadership, and inclusion.

Visit the Gender, Leadership and Inclusion Centre

Changing workforce attitudes and generational diversity

As the context in which we live and work changes, so too do the attitudes, expectations and preferences of the people growing up within that context. The rapid changes we have experienced in recent years in relation to technological advancement, globalisation, increased diversity, and the economic climate have been accompanied by changes in the attitudes and expectations of the workforce.

These changing attitudes present challenges to organisations, who must balance the need to attract and keep younger workers by developing an appropriate repertoire of benefits, with retaining those coming towards the end of their careers with the essential knowledge that their organisation needs in the shorter term. Leaders must seek to inspire every age group, and create cohesive, multigenerational teams.

Putting aside popular rhetoric and the media’s interest in these issues, we have taken an evidence-based approach. Our team has undertaken considerable research into the nature and causes of changes in the attitudes of current and future generations, and the implications of any changes in attitudes and expectations for leadership and management.

Having completed research for the likes of the Ministry of Defence, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation in this area, we are able to support organisations to examine and address differences in the attitudes and expectations of their workforce. This includes:

  • Undertaking research to examine the preferences of the different segments of your workforce,
  • Working with you to recruit and retain across age groups, design benefits schemes, examine the needs for leadership and organisational culture, and to address intergenerational conflict,
  • Creating customised development programmes for your workforce to address stereotypes and misconceptions about generational differences and tackle intergenerational conflict,
  • Providing speakers for conferences and events.

Managing an ageing workforce

Described as the defining social issue of this century, the ageing of the workforce has prompted a reorientation of both public and organisational policy towards extending working life and promoting an increasingly age-diverse workplace. Understanding and managing an age-diverse workforce is now a critical issue for leaders, policymakers and organisational decision-makers worldwide.

The ‘baby boom’ generation is retired or retiring; declining birth rates will likely lead to shortages of younger workers; and the aftermath of global financial crisis and the Coronavirus pandemic means people around the world are struggling to access employment and reemployment opportunities. All this has heightened existing pressures on national social security and pensions systems – pressures which have been exacerbated by insufficiently high replacement rates. Many organisations are struggling to recruit and retain the knowledge, skills and experience they need to survive.

By 2050, a quarter or more of the populations of all major areas of the world – with the exception of Africa – will be comprised of those aged 60 and over.

Having undertaken research and consultancy for the likes of the Department for Work and Pensions, the Employers Forum on Age, and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in relation to understanding and managing age-diverse workforces, we are well-placed to help organisations looking for support in this area. Drawing on our combined expertise across human resource management, career development, occupational psychology, sociology, strategy, and economics, we:

  • Undertake bespoke research and consultancy into issues relating to the ageing workforce, extending working life, and age diversity,
  • Develop customised programmes for HR practitioners and employers to provide support in developing appropriate organisational solutions,
  • Create customised career management programmes for employees of all ages, including with a particular focus on older workers if required.