‘Millennials are from Mars, Managers are from Venus’ - SFE YP Event Blog

Scottish Financial Enterprise Young Professional Amy McDaid, who works at Lloyds Banking Group, a leading UK financial services group, reflects on the latest SFE Young Professionals event and its key message: with the financial industry increasingly focused on innovation and digital transformation, diversity and trust across the workforce has never been more important.

For their first event of the year, ‘Millennials are from Mars, Managers are from Venus’, Scottish Financial Enterprise Young Professionals partnered with ProjectScotland, a charity focused on helping young people in Scotland get on in life through volunteering. Purposefully provocative in title, the interactive session challenged the idea that ‘young people these days are not ready for the workplace’, exploring intergenerational working environments, agile practices and overcoming workplace stereotypes to create trust-based and inclusive working cultures.  

The event opened with an opportunity to network as SFE Young Professionals gathered at the iconic Mound building in Edinburgh’s Old Town. We were pleased to be joined by Graham Robertson, ProjectScotland’s Development Director, and his colleague Catherine Henderson who shared success stories from the charity alongside information on how to get involved via volunteering and mentoring. Over 15 different firms from across the financial services sector were represented by attendees at the event, so it was a fantastic chance to hear from a wide range of peers. 

The main talk was led by ProjectScotland’s Graham Robertson who started the event by emphasising the scale and pace of change facing the financial industry and the need for young leaders to speak up and share their ideas. However, he acknowledged that this is not always easy when faced with challenging stereotypes. The session continued with Graham focusing on each generation in turn, exploring monumental events, challenges from their lifetime and the resulting stereotypes. We rapidly moved from the Baby Boomer generation (born 1946-64) whose post war upbringing and experience of the civil rights movement taught them to question traditional structure; to Generation X (born 1965-76); Y (born 1977-97) and Z (born after 1997), who entered the workplace during the rise of the internet, at the height of the financial crisis. It became apparent from each stop of our generational tour that every new wave brought their own unique perspectives and insights to the workforce, reflective of their life experiences. 

The key message from the evening was to acknowledge the different generational ways of working in order to openly build a dynamic and diverse professional environment based on understanding and trust. As the workforce has changed demographically and technologically, expectations and practices have followed suit - one key example being flexible working. For many it is now common place, marking a shift in attitude as it physically embodies trust being granted upfront. This has been part of a wider move towards output based on innovation: the how and what rather than the where and when. Such practices are only sustainable when founded on trust that allows everyone to work and exceed together. 

The event concluded with an interactive audience Q&A, where many attendees shared case studies from their own working environment. Before closing, the most poignant remark of the evening (for me at least!) was made by Bank of Scotland’s Alex Kerr. He acknowledged, ‘We all have a responsibility to remember how we feel today, and make sure we don’t look back with rose-tinted glasses tomorrow’. For all in the room, it was a clear call to action and I look forward to sharing my personal learnings with fellow SFE Young Professionals at future events. 

The SFE Young Professionals event was hosted by Lloyds Banking Group on 11th April 2019. Follow SFE YP on LinkedIn for upcoming events and news. For Project Scotland enquiries please email Graham Robertson directly at graham.robertson@projectscotland.co.uk