One of the most common challenges for leaders and managers in the workplace is the generational differences in culture.
As the workforce continues to shift and change, the gap between the generations becomes bigger. As more and more Millennial employees enter the workforce, they are expected to become half of the working population by the end of 2020.
The workforce keeps shifting as Baby Boomers retire and more and more Millennials and Gen Zs join the workforce. There are major differences between each generation and their ideal work culture. With the vast age differences in today's employees, firms need to find ways to bridge the generational gap or risk losing their competitive advantage.
The Working Generations
Silent (1925 – 1946)
2% of the workforce. Their view of life was formed by events like The Great Depression, the second World War, and also the postwar boom. They tend to exhibit a determined, “never give up” attitude, and they value communication, teamwork, and collaboration.
Boomer (1946 – 1964)
29% of the workforce. This number is in decline every day. This generation came of age during the Vietnam War, civil rights, and Woodstock. They are typically ambitious, and they can be workaholics.
Generation X (1965 – 1980)
34% of the workforce. This number is not likely to increase again. This generation is often known as the “slacker” generation. They tend to value work/life balance more than the workaholic Boomers. They value independence and adaptability.
Millennials (1980 – 1995)
34% of the workforce. This number is expected to increase to 50% by the end of 2020. Millennials appreciate inclusion and diversity more than previous generations. They are also generally good at multitasking as their parents involved them in a bunch of activities when they were in school.
Gen Z (1995 – 2016)
1% of the workforce. This number is expected to increase to 20% by the end of 2020. They have a major aptitude for technology and multitasking, and they tend to be entrepreneurial self-starters. They tend to expect to be able to work remotely.