Age Diversity: Millennials, X-ers and Boomers! Oh My!

Posted by Elizabeth Pearce on Tue, Nov 01, 2011 @ 02:16 PM

Lions, Tigers and Bears! Oh My! Millenials, X-ers and Boomers! Oh My! Age Diversity! Oh My! We live in an interesting time. Never in history have there been four generations of adults who are so different in their experiences, values and beliefs.  Today’s managers are expected to Millenials and others work with and manage these four generations, Millennials (31 and under), Generation X (32 – 47), Baby Boomers (48 – 64) and Traditionalists (65+).

Before even considering their differing life-stage/Career needs or their different communication styles, just consider the formative global events of their lives and the single piece of technology which has impacted them the most over the last couple of decades. No wonder, Age Diversity is the biggest diversity issue of the early 21st Century.

Millennials (31 and under) – For these Digital Natives, consider that Google was introduced during the teens of the oldest.  Most Millennials have been using the Internet with homework since their childhood.  What were the formative global events in their lives?  9/11, obviously, but also the Oklahoma City Bombing and the Columbine School Massacre.

Generation X (32 – 47) – These are the highly independent Latch-Key Kids, whose mothers returned to work and whose parents were usually divorced.  The technology which has changed their lives the most is the cell phone.  The formative global events in their lives?  AIDS, the Collapse of the Tech Bubble and The Gulf War.

Baby Boomers (48 – 64) – Do you even need to ask their greatest influences?  The formative global events in their lives were the Vietnam War,  Watergate and the Women’s Movement. The transformative technology in their young lives was television with its wide-scale adoption in the 50’s, but in the workplace the key change was driven by the personal computer.

Traditionalists (65+) or The Silent Generation. Many had planned to retire at 65, but have decided to stay in the workforce “a few more years” until their portfolio recovers. The transformative technology for them was the Fax machine. What were the formative global events in their lives?  The Korean War, the Cold War as well as World War II.

This is the third of six blogs on Age Diversity, which are summarized into a white paper.  We will be posting several blogs about these demographic groups – and encourage you to sign up to receive updates via email or RSS as they are posted.

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 I also encourage you to read our post Talent Development and Age Diversity 

Topics: Millennials, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Age Diversity in the Workplace, Mentor Programs, Older Workers, talent development