How Outdated Tech Can Scare Off Young Workers

As the economy pulls out of the nosedive that seems to have plagued it for the past few years, businesses are faced with a new problem. With a workforce that’s reaching retirement in record numbers, it’s more important than ever to find a way to reach the 18-32 age group known as Generation X or Millennials. This generation, who are Internet natives, are more comfortable answering an iPhone than using a fax machine.

Competition for capable, educated young workers will be fierce, with big businesses and government agencies forced to compete with small companies that provide more flexible work options. If a recent report is any indication, the number of 20-somethings in the market has dropped in the past six months, with less than 78 percent of those aged 20-30 either looking for work or actively working by August 2013.

Here are a few ways you may be losing great workers to your more innovative competitors.

Desktop PCs and Outdated Software

If on the first day of work, a worker is shown a cubicle with a desktop PC containing Windows XP and Office 2003, you may have one disappointed new worker. This disappointment is compounded if you require employees to use paper-based systems or input data into a mainframe app that was designed in 1985.

Lack of Flexible Work Options

Today’s worker is less tied to the concept of sitting at a desk in an office 40 hours a week as previous generations. As they watch their peers accept jobs that provide work-from-home options, they may long to find a job with this same freedom. As an article in Time Magazine pointed out, millennials played by Baby Boomer rules during the recession, but as they are allowed to assert themselves in the workforce. Noting the more casual dress codes and flexible working hours at startups and tech companies, these workers want the ability to wear flip-flops to the office and work anywhere they want, connecting via mobile devices.


If you hand your traveling salesmen Blackberries and wish them luck, you may be cutting yourself out of a great opportunity. When implemented correctly, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) provides the best of all possible worlds–saving employers money on device costs while letting workers use the equipment they prefer.

If you’re resistant to these changes, consider consulting your younger workers. They’ll provide insight into how to appeal to this tech-savvy generation and you’ll make them feel as though they’re contributing to the organization in an important way.