To what extent do Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers really differ?

The key to becoming an outstanding manager lies in understanding who you are managing, and part of this involves getting familiar with the generation that identifies your employees.

In a recent survey conducted by EY (formerly Ernst & Young), over 1200 professionals from different generations and industries provided insights into their impressions of fellow workers’ strengths and weaknesses. The study gives us valuable insight into how generational differences shape the workplace, allowing employers to better understand the nuances in each generation’s working style.

A study found that Millennials are digitally savvy, yet lack team-oriented abilities. Gen X-ers demonstrate entrepreneurial thinking while their executive presence is below average. Lastly, Boomers show loyalty and strength in teamwork but struggle to adapt quickly to changes.

For the purpose of this study, a mix of both managers and non-managers participated.

“As management shifts to younger generations, the research reveals areas companies can focus on to enhance skill sets, address the challenges of managing multiple generations, and retain and engage employees by understanding which workplace perks they may value most,” Karyn Twaronite, a partner of Ernst & Young, says in the study.

The following is an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of Generation Y, X, and Baby Boomers according to a recent study:

Generation Y / Millennials:

Pros: It’s widely accepted that Gen Y is the most tech-adept (78% of participants vouch for this) workforce, who know how to use social media platforms effectively in order to leverage opportunities (70 percent of respondents agree). Furthermore, these young professionals are seen as being highly enthusiastic and motivated about their job roles (68 percent of respondents concur).

Cons: According to a study, Gen Y-ers had the least amount of positive opinions about being “team players” (45 percent), having an attitude characterized by hard work (39 percent), and acting as productive members of their organization (58 percent).

Perks: Thirteen percent of Generation Y participants were keen to ascertain when and how they could be promoted, a far higher proportion than the five and four percent from Gen X-ers and Boomers respectively.

Generation X

Pros: The survey results concluded that the majority of respondents (70%) felt Gen Xers were the most successful managers compared to those from the Boomer (25%) and Gen Y generations, respectively. When deliberating on “revenue generation” abilities, 58% agreed that individuals in this age group had a notable edge. Furthermore, 49%, 57%, and 53% of participants confirmed their success when it comes to adaptability, problem-solving skills, and collaboration efforts respectively.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of Generation X becomes crucial in today’s workplace dynamics, as highlighted by the survey’s positive recognition of their management skills, revenue generation abilities, adaptability, problem-solving, and collaboration efforts.

Cons: Comparing generations, Gen X-ers landed at the bottom of the list with only 28% exhibiting executive presence and 34% displaying cost-effective behaviors.

Perks: When surveying Generation X, workplace flexibility was ranked as the top perk (21 percent). Furthermore, if this essential element isn’t available to them, Gen Xers are more likely to leave their current job compared to both Gen Y and Boomer respondents (38 percent versus 33/25 percent respectively).

Baby Boomers

Pros: Baby Boomers were widely seen as the most productive group among organizations, with 69% of respondents affirming their dedication. Similarly, 73% confirmed that they are hardworking, and 56%, are team players. Mentoring others was an area in which 55% saw Baby Boomers excel.

Understanding the workplace landscape involves recognizing the diverse characteristics of different generations. Baby Boomers, acknowledged for their productivity, dedication, hard work, and teamwork, shine in mentorship, embodying valuable qualities in today’s multifaceted work environment.

Cons: In contrast, Boomers were the least likely generation to be adaptable (10 percent) and collaborate with others.

Perks: Unsurprisingly, Boomers (28%) ranked benefits such as health care and retirement plans as the most significant perks compared to Gen X (19%) and Gen Y (147%).

Take a look at the following chart, which highlights the distinctive strengths and weaknesses of various generations in a workplace setting:


According to the study, cash remains to be regarded as the most preferred reward for all generations, with 49% of respondents vouching for it.

SEE ALSO: 3 Things That Separate Leaders From Managers

Do you concur with these discoveries?

Learn more about how to optimize your strengths and weaknesses by watching Office Hours!

Join Forces of Women Professionals

Stay empowered, inspired, and connected with a network of incredible women. Subscribe to our email updates today and be part of a vibrant community driving change together. Don’t miss out on exclusive content, events, and opportunities. Together, we’re more vital! Subscribe now!