IT Employment

Infographic: The generation gap in your office

Ever wondered what constitutes a baby boomer, gen x'er, or a millenial? This infographic breaks it down and shows what the near future will look like in the workplace.

Ever wondered what constitutes a baby boomer, gen x'er, or a millenial? This infographic breaks it down and shows what the near future will look like in the workplace.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

9 comments
greg.dargiewicz
greg.dargiewicz

...the fad of "generational differences" is the worst kind of pseudoscience. Poorly reseached, it relies on accepting the sorts of pop-culture stereotypes normally found in Parade magazine, and drawing anecdotal conclusions. Here's a typical example: "...not only do members of Generation Y look different, with their body piercings, tattoos, and electronic decorations, they behave and think differently as well." Really? All of them? Most of them? What percentage? Is there a difference if you only have piercings and "electronic decorations," and didn't go for a tattoo? What about those that have none of these? It makes tenuous connections for which there is little support. I read one example where the generation who watched "Damien" at the movies learned to distrust children, while the generation that saw "Look Who's Talking" were supposed to have a strong affinity for children. Again, what percentage saw these movies? What were their attitudes before seeing the movie? How many reported a change in attitude afterward? What about those who didn't see the movie - what are their attitudes? (Does it just rub off?) If the premise even made enough sense to bother researching - which it doesn't - where's the research leading to such conclusions? Across the field, it largely does not exist. Which set of "generational" values characterizes the "boomers": protesting racial discrimination at lunch counters, or beating up the protesters? Are Democrats or Tea Partiers the real "boomers"? Bill Clinton or George Bush? Five minutes of reflective thought on questions such as these shows the shallowness of this area of "study." A more accurate study might look at how, DESPITE shared generational experience, people have quite different and often opposing values in many areas of life, because there are so many factors that play a more important role in determining those than the accident of the time in which you are born. I know this silliness is very much in vogue, but it is without foundation. The idea that HR departments are going to make any personnel management decisions based on these stereotypes is disturbing. Its pretense to representing some kind of important insight into how to manage the "multi-generational work place" serves only to give the appearance of legitimacy to prejudices and pigeon-holing. One day, it will join phrenology and palmistry on that long list of obvious nonsense that even "thinking" human beings swallow without a critical thought.

gscratchtr
gscratchtr

For years, I've been hearing the "The baby boomers will soone be retiring, and so" followed by "Due to the economy, the baby boomers will be working longer, and so" Can we have it both ways?

jms5430
jms5430

The first graphic is one of the more instructional ones as it reminds us how arbitrary the generational definitions and labels are. Anyone who looks at that can clearly see that the "baby boom" actually started as early as the 30's and peaked in the late 50's. If the subsequent generations were defined by peaks and troughs rather than major inflection points, the statistics would actually show a much smoother and more normalized transition in workforce distribution over time. The pie chart that has age breakdowns untainted by generational labels bears this out. But the cultural complexities of managing across different generations are very real.

maj37
maj37

It is not fair to the poor people born since 1996 that they don't have a name yet. It is simply not right, we just have to come up with a name for them. If we don't invent a name for them then they will not have any identity, they won't know who they are, or how to act. I can't believe the injustice, I think I'll just retire and be done with the whole thing. Sheesh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mckinnej
mckinnej

became a manager when she was 29. She's doing fine, but I get a lot of calls asking for advice on how to deal with various issues. It will be tough on a lot of them. There will be a lot of graduates from the University of Hard Knocks before it's over. It would also be entertaining to hear them gripe and complain about the kids when they get older. (And kids, that WILL happen. :D )

agrajag
agrajag

...young people get older.....old people retire. Who knew??

jneville.work
jneville.work

"the worst kind of pseudoscience" I couldn't agree more! Why can't people stick to astrology like they did in the good-old-days? ;-)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

They're in their mid-teens, at most. They haven't done anything yet to establish a basis for a name.