The generation game

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Oz banks are tuning in to the need to woo different generations of staff in different ways.

St. George Bank, one of the country's largest retail banks, is among those pandering to generational idiosyncrasies. It recently unveiled an enhanced set of benefits tailored for its Generation X, Y and Baby Boomer employees.

Who got what? For Generation X, said to be those born between 1961 and 1978, there was extended parental leave, a baby bonus account and more childcare leave options. For Generation Y, those born between 1979 and 1998 - most of whom don't have families of their own yet - there was the option to buy additional leave for travel or study, and to extend part-time work. And for the Baby Boom generation, which is nearing (or at) retirement, there was an option to work more flexible hours for staff aged 55+.

In addition, all staff were given the option to take career breaks, by structuring their salaries so they can work for four years and take the fifth year off with an income.

"It is crucial that staff are able to spend time with their families and pursue their personal goals to travel, study or contribute to the community," St. George said in announcing the initiatives. "We believe that offering staff additional benefits will enhance performance, increase job satisfaction, and ultimately encourage loyalty."

According to Lyndsay Steadman, associate director of banking and finance at Michael Page, other banks are making similar moves.

She says investment banks such as UBS, ABN AMRO, Morgan Stanley and ING have all taken steps to improve employee lifestyle benefits.

"It's becoming really prevalent, so much so that UBS ran a business breakfast last week for the recruitment consultancies to talk through the benefits it is giving staff."

These include being able to buy extra holidays, packaging childcare, and having affiliations for staff to purchase goods and services at reduced rates.