The Globe and Mail covers a new survey of Canadian workers of different ages:
The millennial generation, workers in their 20s, are most likely to want a job that offers quick advancement, congenial co-workers and fun.
Generation X workers, in their 30s and early 40s, put the most value on balance between hours at work and their personal lives.
Baby boomers, between 45 and 60, are most likely to say they want to continue to grow and use their skills on the job and get clear information from management on what’s expected from them.
Mature workers, over 60, are actually more concerned with advancement than boomers or generation X.
Does this show a generation gap? I suppose it depends on what you mean by “generation gap.” It could just show that people at different stages of their careers value different things. People just starting their careers want to find a job they like that has room for advancement. People further along in their careers, who are more likely to have families, are concerned with work/life balance. Workers older still start to be interested in developing skills and advancement again, as they look towards paying their kids’ way through college and saving for retirement. Maybe that’s a “generation gap.” Maybe it’s just a normal, natural cycle.
The article also mentions that older workers are more likely to value challenging work than millennials, while millennials value a “fun” workplace. That could indicate a shift in maturity as workers get older, but it’s probably worth noting that part of what makes work “fun” is challenge. It could be that older workers just have a better idea of what makes work rewarding. Though it is possible that there’s a generational difference between the prioritization of work and fun (there’s been some interesting research about which one is more motivating).