Each generation carries stereotypes along with its deemed name — whether it’s Gen X, Baby Boomers, Millennials or Gen Z, we all have heard plenty of jokes about our supposed character traits and habits. As a Millennial myself, I have to say it seems like so far, we have taken the brunt of it. Millennials are often described as lazy, unprepared and slow to settle down and enter the workforce. We are the supposed “snowflake generation” whose parents sheltered us from the real world and gave us participation trophies.
Millennials aren’t the only generation that endure less than gleaming stereotypes. Gen Xer’s — age 42-57 — are often called the “Day Care Generation,” “The Latchkey Generation,” or “The Forgotten Generation.” It’s said they became accustomed to being on their own as children due to their parents’ high divorce rates. At work, they have a reputation for advocating for work-life balance, and managers sometimes believe they aren't interested in career advancement or greater responsibility.
Baby Boomers — age 58-76 — are of course known for their hard work and long hours at the office. Inside the office, it’s expected that a Baby Boomer won’t be nearly as tech-savvy as their younger coworkers, and they are known for being a bit reluctant to new technologies or ideas.
Just entering the workforce is Generation Z — age 10-25. People often characterize Gen Z as a lot like Millennials — only worse. They’re obsessed with social media, self-centered and seem to have little interest in learning from their elders. In the workplace, it’s suggested Gen Z can’t do much on their own without technology in hand.
Whew, that’s a lot of harsh stereotypes surround something people can’t control — the year they were born. The good news is that stereotypes are hypothetical assumptions, not proven fact. In fact, stats show that each generation has a way of debunking the myths that surround their age, especially when it comes to the workplace.
Although Gen X is supposedly skeptical and mediocre in the workplace, Global Leadership Forecast for 2021 found that 62% of business leaders in the U.S. are Gen X, and through a survey of 4,000 full-time workers (equal parts for each of the four generations) GoodHire found that only 16% of Gen X respondents say they're unhappy at work.
Stats show that each generation has a way of debunking the stereotypes that surround their age, especially when it comes to the workplace.
Baby Boomers continue to catch on to technology, as Pew Research found that while they are still less likely than other generations to own a smartphone, baby boomers are nearly as likely as other generations to own a tablet, and since 2010, the number of baby boomers who use social media has quadrupled.
Believe it or not, millennial stats counter many of the assumptions made about them. The GoodHire survey says 57% of Millennials are happy at work and 60% find great purpose at their jobs. This generation is more ambitious than it’s believed to be, as almost half — 46% — are planning to seek a new position within the next year.
Millennials are also the largest generation with about 72.1 million members.
The Jury is still out on many of the Gen Z stereotypes, but Dell Technologies did find that 80% say they want to work with cutting-edge technology, and 91% say technology might sway them to choose one employer over another.
Although it can be harmless and fun to pick fun at your coworkers of a different generation, chances are you’ve learned a thing or two from them as well. In many conversations, I hear more seasoned PHCP-PVF professionals point to their newer, younger hires as game-changers for their companies.
In a time where attracting and retaining new talent is more important than ever, the BNP Media Pluming Group — Supply House Times, Plumbing & Mechanical and PM Engineer — want to give you the opportunity to shout from the rooftops about how great your under 40 crowd is.
The Top 20 Under 40 contest with highlight 20 PHCP-PVF professionals who have been true assets and innovators for their companies and the industry as a whole. We will feature the winners in our September 2022 issues.
Let’s keep breaking down those generational stereotypes and celebrate the future of our PHCP-PVF workforce.