This is part 2 of our series titled, America’s Engagement Epidemic. To read part 1, click here.
For the very first time in history, five distinct generations from the age of 17 – 70 are present in the job market. Each generation has their own world view, experiences, skill sets, context and expectations of an employer. According to a 2017 study by the Pew Research Center, here is the composition of each generation in the current workforce:
Silent / Greatest (1945 or earlier) – 2%
Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964)- 25%
Gen Xers (1965 – 1980) – 33%
Millennials (1981 – 1996) – 35%
Gen Z ( 1997 and Later) – 5%
Having 5 generations represented in the workforce presents a unique challenge for any organization serious about increasing engagement and growing their people.
One of the most common sentiments we hear from organizations is that the Millenials are less engaged than previous generations. We often hear the words “lazy”, “whiny” and “dispassionate” used to describe their millennial workforce. While it may feel as though Millenials are more disengaged than previous generations, the data simply proves this to be a myth.
As you can see, Millennials are slightly more disengaged than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, but not by much. This data from Gallup shows very clearly that the one thing that is similar between these three different generations is a lack of engagement and satisfaction with their work.
One reason for the perception that Millennials are vastly more disengaged than the other generations largely has to do with the way in which each generation responds to their employers and reacts to their own sense of disengagement.
Here are a few characteristics of the Millennial generation that contribute to the way in which Millennials express their disengagement:
These three unique characteristics about the Millennial generation has made it so that these individuals are highly vocal about their disengagement, and advocate consistently for a more engaging workplace. In contrast, because of Baby Boomers unique characteristics, they respond to their own sense of disengagement by working harder, practicing loyalty, and finding ways to advance within an organization.
Regardless of how each generation responds to their disengagement, we can all agree on two facts; that America’s Engagement Epidemic is affecting all generations equally, and that each of us desires to be highly engaged in our work.
If we are going to truly understand the challenge of engagement in the workforce, we are going to have to look much deeper than generational differences to truly understand the root of the problem.
Join us next week to discuss our second myth about America’s Engagement Epidemic.