There are many challenges facing managers and leaders in current workforce. The variety of cultures, races and generations in today’s environment is making work harder. “Managing will also get even more difficult because of globalization, multi-generational workforce, dependency on technology, unethical behaviors and practices.” (Kaifi,2013,pg.217). In this paper I will talk about the three generations that we have had over the past sixty years – the Baby Boomer Generation, Generation X and the current Generation Y, known as Millennials. This rich mix of generations in the workforce can be attributed primarily to labor shortages experienced in many industries and the rising average age of retirement.
Filipczak, B., Raines, C., & Zemke, R. (2000). Generations at work: Managing the clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers, and Nexters in your workplace. New York: American Management Association Publications.
The third generation represented is often referred to as “Generation X.” Members of this group are born between 1965 and 1979. Kyles (2005) defines them as individualistic, disloyal, techno literate, and one of the most challenging groups to manage. This can be attributed to the fact that this group grew up in the rebellious years of the sixties and seventies. Marshall (2004) states, “The employer has to provide an opportunity to work and grow, or they are going to leave” (p. 18). This says a lot about the influence of culture on this generation.
The current generations in the workplace today are Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. Each generation brings their own values and mindsets to the mix. Although genetics play a part in a person’s characteristics, the generation in which someone is born into also plays an integral part in shaping their mind, values, goals, and work ethics. People from the same generation share similar experiences, and this can influence how they think politically and socially.
Upon reflecting on the three main generations that comprise the workplace today, a few differences emerge. “Baby Boomers” grew up in a time when movements were prominent, the Vietnam War occurred, key figures were assassinated, the Watergate Scandal occurred, and television was introduced (Twenge et al., 2010; Schullery, 2013). Overall, “Baby Boomers” seem to exhibit a distrust of authority, value hard work, and want to enjoy their achievements (Robbins & Judge, 2015; Twenge et al., 2010). As such, they are results driven and give their utmost effort (Robbins & Judge, 2015). “Generation X” grew up in a time of computers, divorce, two career parents, MTV, and economic uncertainty (Twenge et al., 2010; Robbins & Judge, 2015). For the most part, they seem to exhibit the workplace behaviors of independence and a lack of commitment to employers (Twenge et al., 2010). They value a balance between work and life and place more focus on extrinsic rewards such as monetary compensation (Twenge et al., 2010). “Millennials” grew up in prosperous times with technology dominating the era and over-protective parents (Robbins & Judge, 2015; Schullery, 2013). Generally, they seem to place a greater value on employee benefits, leisure time, teamwork, and open communication (Society of Human Resource Management, 2004; Twenge, 2010; Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010). In addition, they have also been given the labels of “self-centered” and “entitled” (Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010).
As generation Y, the first group to come of age in the new millennium, grows and matures, they have entered the workforce at an increasingly high rate, making them the fastest growing segment of the United States workforce (Dorsey, 2010, pg. 15). These “youngsters” are typically in their early 20’s to early 30’s, still in the early and formative stages of their careers (Wain, 2013, pg. 308). Joining these Millennials in the workforce are those known as Generation X, consisting of the middle generation born from around 1965-1984 (Wain, 2013, pg. 308). At the far end of the age-workforce spectrum sit the Baby Boomers – those born between the years of 1946 and 1964 (Kaifi, Nafei, Khanfar & Kaifi, 2012, pg. 89). And finally, the oldest generation still trying to eke out their last paychecks before retirement is the Traditionalists, born between the years of 1937 and 1945 (American Medical Writers, 2012).
It is important to keep in mind that each generation sees the world through a unique lens that forms as a result of the events that were taking place in the world as these individuals grew up. Brenner focuses on the different events that have shaped their values and their perception of work. For example, the Veterans went through World War II and grew up with a strict regimen. As such, quality, respect and authority are important to them. Baby Boomers embraced the value of having to sacrifice to get ahead. All that sacrifice makes them very loyal. Generation X workers were the latchkey children who watched their Boomer parents forge a new workplace. They were also the first generation to grow up with technology. As such, this generation cares more about productivity and less about the number of hours spent on the job. Millennials are a generation entrenched in technology and therefore urn for instant gratification. They bore easily. Because they best understand how to maximize technology, they value a balance between work and
Generation Xers: This generation entered into an era of rapid changes social and economic; therefore, were very adaptable to change. Their education was influenced by these growing phenomena. They are free-willed probably due to the fact that they grew up in a time when they were allowed to be away from their parents for long periods of time because mobile communication was not yet popular at this time. Xers are good at taking the initiative in getting things done because they are results-oriented. This generation appreciates a balance between work and family life; hence, are very good at setting limits for managing their time. Xers are very independent often causing them to prefer to work by themselves; therefore, working in teams is often less appealing to them. They are often defined as realists (Phillips, 2016).
The four generations presented in this paper are: The Veterans, The Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennias. The Veterans, also known as seniors or traditionalist, were born between 1925 and 1945 (Andrews & Boyle 2016). These individuals lived through the world wars, overcame economic hardship, and have chosen to continue to work past the common retirement age. This group of individuals believe they work out of
For decades there has been extensive research on generations to better understand characteristics such as personalities, motivations, and work ethics to help current and future employers better understand how to engage targeted demographics. As a result, in recent years there has been a lot of dialogue around Generations X and Y as employers have tried to understand what attracts, retains, and engages these individuals in the workplace. It’s evident that not understanding and respecting these differences can lead to misunderstanding, miscommunications, mixed signals, and possibly the loss of talent within an organization. Over the next couple of paragraphs I will elaborate on each generation and highlight their values as it is important to
Every generation is influenced by its period 's economic, political and social events. From the Great Depression to the civil rights and women 's movements to the advent of television and advanced computer technologies. Thus generational background/situation may also affect the way they work. The key is to be able to effectively address and take advantage of the differences in values and expectations of each generation in the workplace. The current work place consists of four different generations; The Baby Boomers (1946-1964) who are slowly retiring and existing the workforce, The Generation X (1965-1976), The Generation Y or millennia (1977-1997), and the Generation Z who are about to or are just entering the work force. Although these different generations tend to want similar things in a workplace their environment/background has shaped their character, values, and expectations (Hahn 2011).
“The number of employees over the age of 55 has increased by 30 percent; however, the number of 25- to 54-year-olds has only increased by 1 percent” (Claire, 2009). In 2008 the eldest of the 77 million baby-boomers turned 62. Estimates are that by the end of the decade about 40 percent of the work force will be eligible to retire. As people begin to reach the age of retirement there may be not be enough new employees to fill the gap (Clare, 2009). Companies need to find ways to attract Boomers and Millennials. Companies that want to attract Boomers and Millennials need to be creative in their culture, HR policies and work environments.
Millennials have already surpassed the number of baby boomers and have become the majority of the workforce in the U.S, and that number will keep on continuing to increase. But instead of expecting a stronger workforce where the old and new generation would work together to overcome the difficulties, businesses have been struggling in the hiring of millennials. The work environment has changed radically over the years and that has led to several differences between the generations. More than 53% of hiring managers are experiencing difficulties in employing and retaining millennials , and that percentage keeps on increasing as employment turnover keeps growing.
The workplace is ever changing. There are currently four generations in the work environment today, and because of longer life expectancies it will soon by five as the youngest generation enters the workforce joining the current four. Generational transitions in the work environment cause the shift of power to be handed from one generation to the next. These transitions are complex but they have never bypassed a generation. Today 's workplace is overlooking an entire generation, that generation is Generation X. Current power holders, Boomers, are bypassing Generation X and handing the reins to Millennials. Failing to utilize Generation X is a mistake, and managers can maximize employees my utilizing this overlooked sector of the workforce.
Arpon (2008) argues that the exit of baby boomers and entry of millennials into the workforce has altered the general work scape, since millennials do not see their lives revolving around work. Rather, personal life takes center stage and work has to revolve around it. A good example to highlight how this works is the work environment designed by American technology giant and one company known for its innovative talent management, Google