For the first time since the industrial revolution we’re experiencing intergenerational working, with up to five generations in the workplace.
With that in mind we decided to take a look into these five generations and their working styles to discover what tools and technologies are needed to bridge the generational gap.
Let’s introduce the main characteristics our five generations are known for. But as our research below goes on to show, there isn’t a one size fits all approach to generational attitudes and capabilities towards technology adoption.
This generation, also known as maturists, were historically considered to be disengaged from technology and prefer to talk things through face to face. They believe jobs are for life, so it’s important to ensure they have everything they need to be effective at work as they’re often the most loyal generation. Traditionalists would prefer to educate through books and physical reading material.
Official statistics from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) show since the end of the default retirement age in the UK, improvements in healthcare and life expectancy, people are working, particularly part-time, often well into their 70s and 80s.
(Those born between 1945 and 1960)
Also known as the sandwich generation, Baby Boomers find themselves in the challenging position of providing both childcare and elder care. They were early adopters of IT systems and believe that careers are defined by employers. Baby Boomers would prefer to talk face-to-face but are happy to chat over the phone or email if required and are increasingly embracing new technologies through learning from their children and grandchildren. This generation are dedicated to working and traditionally aspired to have a secure job and own a home.
Research from Chartered Insurance Institute shows that the employment rate for people aged 65 and over has doubled during the past 30 years, increasing from 4.9% to 10.2%.
According to ONS figures, people aged 65 and over accounted for 22% of all part-time self-employment in 2015, rising 14% from 2001. Back in 2015 half of those aged over 70 were self-employed.
(Those born between 1961 and 1980)
This generation has seen the introduction of the first PC and early mobile technology. They are digitally aware but may not feel 100% comfortable with emerging technology. Generation X are more likely to be loyal to a profession, not necessarily an employer. Text and email are natural ways to keep in touch. This generation are dedicated to family and friends, so work-life balance is a key part of their employment.
According to research by Workplace Insights, Generation X (along with Baby Boomers) account for almost half of freelancers, with 48% in the 40-49 or 50-59 age brackets.
(Those born between 1981 and 1995)
These digital natives have seen it all, from the birth of social media to reality TV culture, and are more comfortable using new and emerging technology than historic technology systems.
They may have found a stark difference in the technology they used throughout their education to that of their first workplace.
Rather than working for an organisation, they see themselves working alongside it. Their contact preference would be online or through messaging. Millennials are looking for more freedom so flexible working hours are a big decider for them in terms of the employers they choose.
Research from 2018 by Deloitte shows that 50% of Millennials consider flexibility “very important” in choosing a job, and 21% having moved job within the past year. What’s more, 43% of millennial workers planned to leave their jobs within two years.
(Those born after 1995)
The internet was always a thing for generation Z, having grown up with technology as second nature. However, with limited experience in the workplace, they will struggle and get frustrated with legacy technology and so look to other generations to guide them. They are more likely to be career multi taskers and move seamlessly between organizations. Video calls, chat and social networks would be their ideal contact preference. Generation Z will generally prefer to self-teach online.
Research from Accenture shows that 83% of graduates in the UK are willing to relocate for work, with 68% welcoming artificial intelligence (AI) and other technology at work.
As our study shows it’s never been more import to engage and support your employees by providing the best technologies available.
Now that you’ve learned more about the five generations in the workplace discover more about your generation.
Download our comparison of how five different generations work, learn and use technology.Download infographic