4 Generations in the labour market

The labour market is not uniform in any society.
This is because it brings together representatives of several generations, whose attitudes and expectations may be radically different. Generations X, Y and Z are currently referred to, but it is worth making a conventional distinction. What are the characteristics of each generation? How do their attitudes influence today’s labour market?

Read the following article to find out.


The generation

Generation X – baby boomers or the communist generation?

The oldest participants in the market game belong to generation X, which is sometimes referred to as the baby boomers or the communist generation. However, it is worth being aware that these terms are not synonymous. The baby boomers generation includes people born between 1946 and 1964, and takes its name from the post-war increase in the number of births in the USA.

Representatives of the baby boomers generation are highly committed to their responsibilities and are also characterised by a global view of issues.
They value stability and professionalism.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that there are currently fewer representatives of this generation on the labour market, due to the fact that they are retiring and no longer taking up additional employment.
The same is true for the communist generation, whose representatives were born between 1965 and 1979. Nevertheless, it is highly likely that generation X will still remain in the labour market, even after retirement. The reason for this is the relatively low benefit amounts and the continued willingness to work.
Generation X is characterised by:

  • commitment to tradition,
  • ability to deal with conflict situations,
  • attachment to one employer,
  • duże zaangażowanie w wykonywane obowiązki.

Generation X can be called the most traditional one, attached to the old employment systems. Not all of its representatives are ready for the changes brought about by the modern labour market. Many of them are reluctant, for example, to take up remote working, which is due, among other things, to a certain technological barrier.

Generation X does not strive for continuous salary increases, as is the case with younger labour market participants. Nevertheless, their salaries are generally high, as a result of having a lot of work experience. A characteristic of this generation is the return to the market of women who, in their youth, were involved in raising children and gave up their jobs.


Generation Y, unafraid of change

Generation Y includes people born between 1980 and 2000. They have had a much easier start than their grandparents or parents, which they owe primarily to globalisation. Easier access to knowledge or the Internet and the widespread exchange of information make Generation Y perfectly equipped to perform their professional duties and able to adapt to change. Adaptability and the search for new career opportunities mean that generation Y representatives not only change jobs frequently, but also have little resistance to changing industries. They believe that the biggest enemy of growth is stagnation, and that boredom with professional duties has a destructive effect on them. It is no secret that many of them focus primarily on their careers, putting aside plans to start a family, for example. Frequent changes of employer are not conducive to stability, and as a result, generation Y is considered to be dependent. In fact, a large number of them still live with their parents, despite having reached the age of 30.

Significantly, Generation Y can now see an exodus of women from the labour market. They often choose to devote themselves to motherhood by giving up employment.

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Generation Z – youngest on the labour market

Generation Z is actually just entering the labour market, as it includes people born after 2000. Some sources state that it also includes workers born after 1995. – The division in this context is not entirely clear. In the latter case, it is primarily those who grew up with free access to the internet or to information in general who are taken into account. The fact is that millenials are exposed to modern technologies from an early age and these are an integral part of their everyday life. They use them not only for entertainment, but also to acquire knowledge. A characteristic feature of generation Z is the ability to make contact even with people on the other side of the world. This is fostered by globalisation, but also by advanced knowledge of foreign languages. Representatives of generation Z are not afraid to take up employment abroad or remotely. They value flexibility, have a divided attention span and are multi-taskers. It is also worth noting their openness to change and communication skills. Representatives of generation Z spend a long time looking for their place on earth and the path they could take to develop professionally. They often change employers and take on completely new tasks. They willingly participate in training courses to improve their professional competences.

One market, different generations?

The labor market is characterized by great diversity.
Currently, 3 generations can be distinguished in it, although it is worth being aware that this division is not entirely clear.
Sometimes it can even introduce stereotypical thinking, which is beneficial neither for employees nor for employers.
Treating the overall division in a zero-one system is not the best solution.
After all, in every generation there will be people who do not manifest the listed characteristics or adopt attitudes characteristic of their generation.
Much depends on the personality and environment from which a particular employee comes.
However, there is no doubt that the modern labor market is not uniform, which is worth considering in the context of a kind of opportunity both to find a suitable employee and a dream job. After all, diversity is an engine for the development of the economy while providing it with a certain level of stability.

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