Generation War: Millennials vs Gen X vs Baby Boomers

The demographic designation between generations is arbitrary, though there are similarities as well as significant differences when it comes to the beliefs and working habits of these specific age groups. But does general differences affect us in the workplace as much as we think it does?

A common factor, studies have shown is that all the generations agree that work-life balance is of the utmost importance. Next comes leadership, but in a contrasting aspect. While the older age group believes that mentoring and experience are great leadership skills, the younger ones have the opinion that openness and flexibility are key. The sandwiched Gen Xers are more adaptable to both styles and can adjust themselves to any habitat of the workplace when it is needed.

Let’s find out more about each classification of the demographic phenomenon and see the working habits and principles they are known for.

Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964)

The one factor when it comes to talking about baby boomers in the working industry is Company Loyalty. It is a rather well-known fact that this group of industrious, seasoned professionals will have or have been staying in the same organization for more than a few decades. Not only that, research by Pew Research Centre, USA, shows that 65% of the baby boomers would want to work past the age of 65, a global retirement age!

But as the golden days of their peak are setting like a sun across the horizon, many of them are starting to retire and passing the baton to the next generation to take over the torch. Even as they are declining in numbers in the workforce, their motto of “sacrifice for success” still rings through the hearts of the upcoming generations taking leadership posts.

Gen X (1965 – 1981)

More often than not, the Gen Xers are very rarely talked about when it comes to the generation war. It is true, the Baby Boomers and the Millennials are louder and come off as stronger when it comes to sounding out their beliefs and ideas of what a workplace should be like. But don’t write off the Gen Xers as irrelevant yet. The Gen Xers are the most important of the generations because they are the “adhesive” between the younger and older crowds, adapting to the hard work and perseverance of the Baby Boomers as well as the technologically inclined Millennials.

Millennials (1982 – 1996)

The young and adventurous ones. More than half of management roles in the corporate world are taken up by Millennials today. One of their core values that gives them the drive is “work smart, not work hard”. A very contrasting viewpoint as compared to their seniors.

Being very achievement-oriented, Millennials do not have a problem job-hopping every few years just to find a new quest for success. They yearn unique work experiences unlike those professionals of yesteryears and are open-minded and diverse in the jobs they are willing to go for.

Generation Z (1997 – 2012)

Let us not forget, the young blood that will run the world in the near future, Generation Z. Even though this generation is just starting to get a taste of the professional industry, they have already made an impression of what this generation will be like when it’s time for them to run the show. The “Social Media” generation as they are famously known for, will upgrade the working environment to a whole new (digital) level.