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  • Writer's pictureAnn Willets

Who Are Today’s Workers?

As a recruiter, I think it's vital that I always know my audience - who I'm interviewing, what they value, and so on. Generational studies offer a view into the ebbs and flows of our workforce, showcasing how the workforce slowly shifts with each generation. We're currently beginning to see a more significant influx of Generation Z workers, while Gen Xers are running agencies as their Boomer superiors retire. Hence, most Millennials find themselves in the middle.

The oldest members of Gen Z were born in 1996, and the youngest in 2010. So, most of Gen Z has plenty of growing up to do before they thoroughly shake the workforce, but the fresh faces of PR come from this cohort armed with ample tech knowledge. Research by Concordia University, St. Paul, and Deloitte, respectively, have painted Gen Zers as pragmatic, somewhat exhausted from living life virtually, and eager to execute meaningful face-to-face interactions. They are cautious, but usually entrepreneurial. Gen Z values a buzzing office culture, community relations, good benefits, and high job satisfaction. Deloitte reports Gen Z "values salary less than every other generation," and they express an aversion to tedious work.

Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are now senior account executives and account supervisors but can be in higher and lower positions. Research by the Society for Human Resource Management found Millennials to be prone to changing jobs. They tend to accept positions they're not satisfied with, search for something better as they work, typically prefer virtual communication, and are passionate about work-life balance.

Gen Xers, born between 1965 and 1980, and are typically found in HR and leadership roles. As portrayed by U.S. News, Gen Xers connected to life before and after tech invaded every workplace and home. Gen Xers don't exhibit an aversion to technology, are roughly as confident in their tech abilities as Millennials and tend to be the ultimate team player. U.S. News also portrays Gen Xers as having a thirst for knowledge and self-development, going the extra mile to ensure they continue to reach new career milestones and are on-par with younger workers.

Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, are at the tail end of the workforce. Boomers are retiring later in life, but many have already retired and left their positions to Gen Xers. You may find many Boomers directing agencies, recruiting, or doing contract work. I’m Boomer, and I've discovered many Boomers to be hardworking, possibly to the point of skewing far more toward the "work" in "work-life balance" and goal-oriented. describes Boomers as valuing more traditional professionalism and as competitive and optimistic. Many Boomers are also refusing to retire, which is on-par with the rising expectation that Americans work in their 70s.

Each generation puts its mark on the workplace, and it's essential to acknowledge each one's values in terms of performance and cost.

Smart employers are ones that use age diversity to build out teams that bring these different attitudes and experiences into the creative mix. In the end, it makes them stronger and more competitive.

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