How Generational Differences Shape the Modern Workplace
Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials are all working together in the modern workplace. So how do generational differences affect the job market? It is believed that by 2020 millennials will make up 46% of the workforce. At the same time, baby boomers are beginning to retire. This will create a fundamental shift in the workforce dynamic that will impact the younger generations. Let’s take a closer look.
- Baby boomers: These employees, born during the post-World War II years, were at one time the largest portion of workers. Today, they are being replaced quickly by Millennials. This is partly because the Millennial generation is the biggest since Boomers, but also because many Boomers are now transitioning their careers to retirement. Their exodus from the workplace is going to open a lot of management and senior level jobs that will be filled by the younger generations. Baby Boomers leave a legacy of traditional work ethics but are often concerned about the use of technology for all aspects of our lives.
- Generation X: A much smaller generation, Gen X was once known for being “slackers.” They didn’t want to play by their parent’s rules and because of that they were given this negative reputation. The truth is that Generation X was the first to break many of the rules that were established by their predecessors. It was Generation X that developed much of the technology that Millennials rely on. They are also a generation of entrepreneurs using their desire to beak the rules to change them all together.
- Millennials or Generation Y: Gen Y likes to do things differently as well. They are reliant on technology but don’t necessarily understand how it works. They are also a group that prefers to work in collaboration rather than independently. They are also expecting the right balance between their work and their life. Even as they enter the jobs left vacant by Baby Boomers, they will not be slaves to their careers like their predecessors.
- Generation Z or the Net Generation: Not yet entering the workforce, Generation Z will have a new set of job market challenges that none of the previous generations experienced. The oldest of this generation are just graduating from high school now so it will be a few years before they enter their careers. This generation is known for being optimistic so employers are encouraged to harness that energy. They also have a strong entrepreneurial spirit which may prove to rival that of Generation X.