Millennials and other young Americans are struggling to match the wealth and success of the Baby Boomers.
The Boomers, once the largest generational group before they replaced the millennials, became one of the most economically powerful generations with the housing and stock price boom of the 1980s.
The wealth they accumulate may, unlike previous generations, be a recurring phenomenon and far beyond what future generations are likely to ever achieve.
Today’s workforce consists of four different generations.
Baby boomers are the oldest, born between the 1960s and 1970s. They are between the ages of 56 and 75 and approaching retirement.
Boomers are followed by members of Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980. They are 0–56 years old.
Next comes Generation Y (more commonly known as Millennials), born roughly between 1981 and 1999.They are 27 and 0 years old.
The youngest generation in the current workforce is Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2009. The oldest employees are 26 years old.
As you might expect, there are big differences in communication habits and work styles between those born in the 1960s and those born in the 21st century.
Which generation is after Gen Z?
You may be wondering who will enter the workforce of the future after Generation Z. That would be Generation Alpha, which is currently considered to be those born around 2010 and later. Of course, the oldest are still teenagers now, but in the next few years they will be entering the workforce as they look for their first high school and college jobs.
|Parameters Of Comparison||Boomer||Gen-Z|
|Year of birth||The Boomer was born long ago, between 1946 to 1964.||Gen-Z was born not so long ago; the year of their birth is between 1946 to 1964.|
|Major events||The significant events that occurred in Boomer’s life are the post-war boom, Apollo Moon landing, plague, etc.||The significant events that occurred in Gen-Z’s life are global warming, digitalization, COVID, etc.|
|Needs||The things desired by boomers are ownership of a house, job security, etc.||The things desired by Gen-Z are stability, social and digital security, career counseling, and family support.|
|Status||The status of Boomer in the era of Gen-Z is the owner of ancestral property and living the retirement life.||The people of Gen-Z are either working as part-timers or preparing for their careers.|
|Technology||The signature product that is associated with the people of the boomer generation is television.||The signature product associated with the Gen-Z are smartphones, Google Glass, 3D printing, etc.|
What percentage of today’s workforce does each generation make up?
Millennials became the largest generation in the workforce in 2016, according to Pew Research. As of 2017, there were 56 million millennials in the workforce, followed by 53 million Gen Xers and 1 million baby boomers. There were 9 million Generation Zeros in the workforce and, surprisingly, 3 million Silent Generations (before the boom!).
That means millennials make up more than a third of the American workforce.
Generation X accounts for one-third of the workforce, while Boomers account for a quarter and Generation Z accounts for about 5%.
Not all baby boomers are rich
Generational inequality is also at play. The increase in wealth since the 1980s has gone unnoticed by the poorest part of the baby boomers, benefiting those at the top and thus widening the gap between the poorest and the richest generation. And the survey found that the bottom half of all age groups have less wealth today than they did four decades ago—partly explaining the widening generational wealth gap. “American wealth is aging,” researchers write.
The Baby Boomers, however, largely benefited from an economic life that eluded younger generations.
In a survey we reached out to more than 1000+ people of different generations. Here are the outcomes:
Boomers VS Gen-Z
Boomers care deeply about health, wealth, and settlement. On the other hand, Gen-Z cares about living in the present and virtual world.
Another term used instead of Boomer is known as Boomer. On the other hand, Gen-Z is also known as Generation Z and Zoom.
When talking about the relationship between Baby Boomers and Gen Z, Boomers are the grandparents of Gen Z, while Gen Z are their grandchildren. They can also be teachers and students, managers and employees.
Baby boomers don’t care about getting old. For them, it is an inevitable natural process. On the other hand, Gen-Z does not believe in concepts like aging and tends to live happily in every moment.
The Baby Boomer generation believed in receiving a proper and advanced education, and it was the most necessary. On the other hand, Gen-Zs have various online sources to earn money and do not rely on a college degree.
When asked if compensation is more important, younger millennials were slightly more likely to say “yes.” However, boomers were even more likely to say yes, with 86% of older working boomers valuing personal worth more than an advanced title.
Asking for a price increase, however, found mixed responses among the employees. Less than half of older boomers said they are comfortable asking questions, compared to 5% of Gen Z respondents and 60% of Millennials.
Discussing compensation with co-workers has been a topic of conversation for a long time. According to the report, younger generations are proving to be more open-minded. Millennials are starting to agree, but skepticism is increasing as the respondents get older. When the respondents reached older boomers, most said they never shared compensation information.
Another area that differed by age concerned children. When asked if they thought having children would hurt their careers, younger respondents mostly said “yes,” while older generations mostly said “no.”
However, looking at soft skills, there was some uniformity in the workplace.
All respondents chose persistence as the soft skill that would most help them advance their careers.
The least popular choice among Gen Z and Millennials was “empathy,” while it was “humility” for Boomers. The report also asked which soft skills employees would most like to develop; Generation Z and millennial workers named communication as the top choice. On the other hand, boomers chose adaptability.
These results are not very surprising either. Older generations may have better soft skills than younger generations, and technology is a specialty of Gen Zers and younger millennials.
At the end of the day, all workers, regardless of skill level, worry about stopping.
Because of this fear, many young workers said they want to start their own business in the next five years. In comparison to older generations, between 35 and 0% of Gen Z workers and millennials said they wanted to start their own business. Attitudes towards management
Each age group wants different things from their bosses.
All respondents said that the best quality of a boss is support and cooperation.
But only 55% of boomers said they would be comfortable giving feedback to their boss; even if the teacher is a micromanager, older generations may not feel comfortable discussing the issue.
More than 60% of Gen Zers and Millennials said they feel comfortable giving feedback to managers. When it comes to what they would like their managers to change, the most popular choice among Gen Zers was to raise employee salaries (26%).
Millennials and baby boomers primarily desired improved vision and strategy from their bosses. Intermediaries clearly have work to do, as respondents in different age groups named co-workers as the most loyal co-workers, bypassing managers or superiors.
Workplace culture: how a supervisor leads a team determines workplace culture. According to the report, managers must ensure their employees maintain a healthy work-life balance or risk employee dissatisfaction or burnout.
Most Gen Zs (60%), Millennials (67%) and Boomers (56%) seemed satisfied with their work-life balance, but nearly half of respondents across age groups reported feeling burned out.
The main stressors that contributed to burnout in age groups were unclear goals and poor leaders, the report noted.
When asked what is most important to them at work, aside from salary, employees everywhere answered with a balance between work and private life. Work-life balance helps prevent burnout and gives employees a chance to catch their breath and take a break from work.
The Future of Work
Going forward, workers differed significantly on where the future of work was headed. Rumors of robots taking over the workplace have swirled around the workforce for years, but most workers don’t seem worried.
According to the report, a majority (89%) of aging boomers are not at all worried about robots taking their jobs, mainly because most of this age group are looking forward to retirement.
However, even the youngest employees of Generation Z don’t seem to care too much, as 63% of respondents are not afraid to bring robots to work. More than half (58%) of Gen Z workers said they believe the benefits of technology outweigh the risks, the report found.
Learn more about Generation Z. Conversations: Debunking the misconceptions of the perennial generation from TechRepublic Methodology
Data Comparably’s Workplace Trends: The Gen Z vs. Millennials vs. Baby Boomers report was collected in February. Based on responses from a total of 175,281 employees on February 25, 2019 and February 25, 2020. The employees came from small, medium, and large companies, including Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google, and Uber.
Although generational differences may seem small, they have a big impact in the workplace.
Work is one place where all generations work.
This can be difficult for managers trying to motivate employees. Each generation wants something different in the workplace. As an HR professional, your job is to empower managers to develop strategies for engaging employees of different ages to keep them motivated and happy.
Understanding the differences between Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (aka Millennials), and Generation Z is an effective way to leverage their common strengths and understand how to effectively communicate, manage, and lead them.
The more you know about each generation, the better you can navigate problems and avoid potential conflicts.
How to Motivate Baby Boomers
Many Baby Boomers equate work with self-esteem. They are perhaps more motivated than previous generations by job title, traditional benefits (such as a 401(k) retirement account), and prestige. Accomplishing things at work and recognizing and rewarding achievements can go a long way in managing a baby boomer.
They are also quite goal-oriented. They generally do well with little feedback, assuming everything is fine unless told otherwise. With a little help, baby boomers can encourage milestones like promotions and upgrades to prestigious roles and titles.
However, this can lead to them being quite rigid and operating best in a traditional hierarchical environment. They have difficulty understanding and functioning in workplaces with a flexible structure.
How to Motivate Gen Xers
As a generation that mostly grew up spending a lot of time alone, Gen Xers like to work independently. However, they are credited with bringing the idea of work-life balance into the workforce. Many of them saw their parents work only to suffer through the recession of the 1980s, so they are skeptical of overwork.
This means they are looking for benefits like flexible schedules and telecommuting that are popularized by younger generations and enabled by technology. Because Gen Xers are so independent, they enjoy being able to make choices, so figuring out how they do things or giving them room to choose their daily or weekly tasks can go a long way.
How to Motivate Generation Y (aka Millennials)
Unlike Boomers and even some members of Generation X, Millennials are characterized as job seekers. You hardly see them stay in the same job for more than a few years. Salary and benefits are big factors in their decision to stay or leave.
But those aren’t the only things that motivate Millennials. Like their Gen X predecessors, they love flexibility and choice. They also like professional development opportunities.
Stagnation and staying in a current role can make workers of any generation, but perhaps especially millennials, look to see what else is out there. HR managers can help retain Millennial talent by ensuring Millennials have plenty of mentoring and professional development opportunities to grow and advance in their careers.
How to Motivate Gen Z
Gen Z may be very similar to their millennial predecessors, but there are some areas where they excel. First, they want satisfaction and purpose in their work—they want what they do to matter.
They not only expect a sincere CSR initiative but expect the same level of thinking to be applied internally. Gen Z is the most diverse generation yet, so diverse and inclusive efforts are naturally important to the age group that has most influenced them.
Like Gen X, Gen Z saw their parents struggle during the Great Recession of 2008, so they may be especially motivated by salaries and traditional financial rewards like bonuses, having seen what happened when people found they didn’t have enough. Gen Z values benefits such as 401(k) match, student loan repayment, and tuition reimbursement. Baby Boomers