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Millennials are not so different from gen x, boomers

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This just in — a new study that offers contrary data on millennials to a study designed to bust myths about this overly examined generation.

The earlier research, released by IBM, strongly implied millennials aren’t that different from their elder coworkers than most are led to believe. Now, this research from Addison Group, a provider of professional staffing services, and Kelton, a global insights firm, surveyed 1,006 working adults evenly divided among the three main generations in the workforce, and debunked the debunkers.

And yet, the actual responses, at least to some questions, are not so different from the IBM study, which suggests that difference could simply be in the eye of the beholder.

Millennial workers — those in their 20s and early 30s — set themselves apart from older generations by being more likely to expect raises, promotions and bonuses more than once a year; more likely to view having their own office as a right; and more actively looking for new job opportunities,” this study concluded.

But let’s take a look at “more likely.”

For instance, when asked whether they were in their ideal job, here’s how the three generations responded:


Overall: 24 percent said they are in their ideal job;

Millennials: 27 percent yes;

Boomers: 24 percent yes;

Gen X:  21 percent yes.

Thus, do we see 3 percent to 6 percent as a slight difference or a telling one?


When asked whether having their own office as a right, rather than a reward, we find:

Millennials: 38 percent

Boomers: 31 percent

Gen X: 28 percent

When asked if they enjoy managing others, the results were:

Millennials: 41 percent yes

Gen X: 32 percent yes

Boomers: 31 percent yes

Forty-one percent of millennials said they enjoy managing others, more so than Generation X (32 percent) and baby boomers (31 percent). Twenty-six percent of millennials said they would consider leaving a company that didn’t provide an opportunity to be a manager.

All three generations reported the same percentage looking for a new job: 32 percent. Another area of close agreement (depending on how one defines close): Company success as a motivating factor. Said the study:

“Across generations, employees were not very motivated about the company’s success (25 percent), culture (24 percent) or mission (21 percent). Baby boomers were most impressed with their company’s success (27 percent).”

And this: “The majority of respondents (44 percent) said they would leave their current job to make more money, including 49 percent of millennials, 45 percent of Generation X and 38 percent of baby boomers.”

Other areas of inquiry, such as importance of work-life balance, showed no critical differences in the generations.

Now, there were some areas where millennials did diverge fairly radically from their elders: Millennials were much more likely than boomers to want to manage others.

But overall, from a management and HR perspective, this study seems to support a theory that there are generational differences and similarities rather than a theory that millennials are vastly difference from Gen Xers and boomers. In fact, in some cases, Gen Xers were set apart from the other groups, in others, Boomers stood out.

See also:

Want to lure millennials? Forget ‘retirement planning’

Advisors must better serve women, social media-savvy millennials

Add millennial clients before they get wealthy


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