The Up and Coming Workforce: Generation X (1965-1980)
Soon to be the Senior Staff in your organization (if they’re not already). Also known as the generation of doers.
As someone who was born in 1970 and entered the world of recruiting in 1994, I’ve seen a lot of change. Mostly, social interaction as a society and in all aspects of life has changed most drastically—especially in the recruiting world. Regardless of industry, as Baby Boomers begin to retire, Gen X’s time to lead is now. Remember recruitment is 365 days a year. In other words, retaining employees is just as important as attaining them. So, if you haven’t thought of intentionally recruiting this sector of the workforce, it may be time to re-evaluate.
When recruiting for Gen X, there are a few things to keep in mind…
PHILOSOPHY FOR GENERATION X’S:
More than the following generations, members of Generation X know who they are and what they want. This is partly due to the advantage of life experience. As a result, Gen Xers highly value genuineness and honesty. It is a critical factor in retaining this type of employee. If there’s a perception of deception from the company, members of this generation might stick around for a year or two, but they will move on if their suspicions are not quelled.
While Generation X is not averse to technology, we tend to prefer personalized, face-to-face development in the form of workshops or seminars versus the increasing online/on-demand training dominating the workforce. In general, it seems interactions are shorter, and people are more impatient than ever. Specifically, in recruiting, sometimes conversations feel rushed, like candidates want quick information with no real dialogue. This generation values an individualized approach tailored to developing our unique strengths and skills.
WORK/LIFE BALANCE FOR GENERATION X’S:
Generation X finds themselves in an interesting position in life where they are constantly in the middle. At work, they can naturally identify common ground with the Baby Boomers AND the Millennials in the office. This proclivity makes them natural mediators and thus good fits for management and supervisory positions. It’s also a generation of entrepreneurs. Over half of new businesses are started by Gen Xers which tells us a few things.
- They’re natural problem solvers and they value working smarter not harder
- They believe in the work hard/play hard philosophy
- They champion flexibility and freedom from workplace bureaucracy
In life, they are in the peak of their parenting years, but a large percentage also have aging parents who are leaning on them for support. From a recruiting and employer perspective, this means offering benefits such as a flexible work environment and college savings programs is key in successfully connecting with Generation X members. While they’re not as restless as Millennials, they will leave a company if it’s not meeting their needs.
TECHNOLOGY FOR GENERATION X’S:
Advancement of technology has changed drastically during Gen X’s time in the workforce. When I first entered the industry, much of the communication was done in person. The technology available was landline phones and beepers. At the time, the internet age including email was in its infancy. As we moved in to the early 2000’s, basic cell phones were just starting to enter the mass market. Fast forward to 2019, when cellphones serve as miniaturized computers and texting has become the norm more than the exception. In addition, social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter among other outlets play an enormous part in the way we communicate not only in the business world but in all aspects of our lives. Being an active part of the workforce for these changes has made Generation X much more fluid and comfortable with changes in technology and process in the workplace.