Demographic change. Generation X, Y and Z. And each of these generations brings new demands to the working world. But how big are the differences between the generations? And how is it possible to satisfy one generation without neglecting the other?
So different, yet similar?
First of all a brief overview: At the moment, we are talking about four different generations on the labor market. The babyboomers (approx. year of birth 1946 – 1964) are regarded as industrious and loyal workers. In contrast, for the generation X (approx. 1965 – 1980) the work takes a less important part in their life. Although they are regarded as career-oriented and ambitious, they still want a equal work-life balance. The next generation (approx. 1980 – 2000) is called Generation Y or Millenials. For them the meaning of work is of great importance, self-realization is one of the main goals of this generation. The Millenials are the first ones that have grown up with the digitalisation and can therefore not be brought out of the rest by a constantly changing world. The generation Z (approx. 2000 – 2010) will soon be on the labor market. For this generation, mobile technology has become a self-evident part of everyday life. Interestingly, however, they prefer a stronger separation between work and leisure. More on the new generations and in particular their social media behavior, we will take up in further contributions on our blog. But back to this one: Of course, such divisions in generations are always only constructs, which can never be transferred 1: 1 to every member of the generation concerned. And besides, are the different generations really so different in what they want at work?
Change in living environment means change in work environment.
It is particularly worthwhile to address the different needs of individual generations. Not only in order to approach the right generation when searching for employees, but also to keep the hired employees satisfied. It’s no surprise that the generations Y and Z are technically more affine than the previous ones and therefore also expect their employer to offer them a lot technology-wise. But not only these generations find technology helpful. According to a worldwide study, 72 percent of the working generations Y and Y think that digital processes are important to companies. And for that there is a lot to improve – showed one of jacandos latest study. This also includes, for example, social media: those who do not use these networks as a company to present themselves have little chance of being noticed by the youngsters. Sure, because the generation that is new to the labor market has always been surrounded by technology and also lives privately in a linked up world.
What is the prejudice about?
The fact that the younger generation is more technologically active and companies are adapting more and more may be true. But what about the other – perhaps more negative – prejudices? Media nowadays is especially interested in the generation Z and tends to cast them in a negative light. As if the young generation does not want to work at all and only enjoys leisure time. However, a study has shown that their demands on the job are nothing new actually: According to Handelszeitung, the greatest fear of the younger generations is to not have any further development opportunities in the company.
So the younger generation does not want to work less – they only want to work differently. Whether the job should fit the personality, be completely separable from personal life, or has an innovative working time model. That does not sound so different from the desires and demands of older workers, does it?
No stereotypical thinking, please.
The boundaries between the generations are blurred and not only differences can be viewed, but also commonalities. Ultimately, every employee has to be looked at individually, and no person and certainly no generation can be put into a certain category not even in the work life. And to be honest: fun at work, a job with various tasks and the opportunity to develop further; that is what most of the employees want – cross- generational in fact!