The workforce is full of diversity, whether it be gender, race, religion, or age. When it comes to age at work, there’s no denying that it makes a differences in preferences for workers.
As of 2016, the Millennial generation makes up more of the workforce than any other generation, taking over Generation X and Baby Boomers, according to Pew Research Center. As the amount of Baby Boomers in the workforce declines, Millennial preferences and work styles are taking over.
How do these two generations get along in the workforce? A new report that surveyed 1,005 Millennials and 1,025 Baby Boomers who are full-time workers found that there are common themes within each generation, no matter what industry.
How Millennials and Boomers feel about each other in the workplace
Each generation is slightly different. While Millennials have their own set of characteristics, so do Boomers. These difference may help the generations work together, or they may lead to clashes in the office.
The survey found that 30% of Millennials feel that older colleagues are holding them back from advancing in the workplace. Even further, 25% of Millennial respondents reported quitting a job because of an older boss, manager or colleague.
While these numbers are bleak, it turns out that Millennials are actually more responsible for pushing colleagues out of the workplace. According to Baby Boomer respondents, 36% have quit their job because of a Millennial boss, manager or colleague and 52% have experienced age discrimination in the workplace.
Differences in work behaviors could explain why both generations have quit their jobs due to an employee who is from the opposite generation. For instance, 48% of Baby Boomers find Millennials’ smart phone usage annoying, 41% find their sense of entitlement annoying, and 35% find that Millennials are lazy.
On the flip side, 52% of Millennials get annoyed that Baby Boomers have “know it all” personalities, 47% find that Boomers have an annoying sense of entitlement and 34% are annoyed with Baby Boomers’ egos.
Millennials and Boomers may get annoyed with each other in the office, but like any good colleague, some of them are also able to see their counterparts strengths. Of Millennials respondents, 42% said they find Baby Boomer colleagues dependable, 41% said they are punctual, and 26% said they have a keen eye for detail. Out of the Baby Boomers, 34% said they find Millennial colleagues positive, 32% said they are good problem solvers, and 24% said they are accountable.
Communication preferences also differ across generations in the workplace. Unsurprisingly, more Millennials prefer discussing work over email, while almost half of Baby Boomers would prefer to discuss matters face to face.
- 43% prefer email
- 35% prefer face to face
- 10% prefer texting
- 7% prefer instant messaging
- 5% prefer talking over the phone
- 34% prefer email
- 46% prefer face to face
- 9% prefer texting
- 3% prefer instant messaging
- 8% prefer talking over the phone
Surprisingly, when it comes to preferences on types of workdays, Millennials and Boomers are pretty evenly split on the work style they prefer. Across each generation, 30% of respondents said that they prefer a 9 to 5 workday, while 21% of each generation noted preferring a flexible schedule. The slight differences in preferences are between remote work and a four-day week. Surprisingly more Baby Boomers than Millennials reported that they like working remotely best, 19% of Boomers compared to 17% of Millennials. When it comes to a four-day workweek, 24% of Millennials and 26% of Baby Boomers like that idea.
Who has more company loyalty?
According to the survey, 91% of Millennials say Baby Boomers are loyal to their employers and only 60% of Boomers say the same about Millennials, but actually, these numbers are far off from the truth.
In reality, employees from both generations would leave their company for better opportunities. According to the report, 84% of Millennials and 75% of Baby Boomers say they would leave their current company for more money. Shockingly, more Baby Boomers than Millennials said they plan to leave their current job within the next six months, 39% of Baby Boomers compared to 33% of Millennials.
That being said, Baby Boomers have more faith in their employers than Millennials do. According to respondents, 60% of Boomers say that companies are loyal to their employees while only 40% of Millennials believe that.