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Gen Y not difficult, Baby Boomers problematic in the workplace

Managers find Gen Y staff easier to work with than the challenge of Baby Boomers, according to research conducted by Leadership Management Australasia (LMA). Leaders, managers and employees across all generational groups saw Gen Y in a favourable light, bucking the stereotype of Gen Ys being demanding and difficult to deal with.

LMA’s Generations L.E.A.D. (Leadership, Employment and Direction) Survey found, however, that large numbers in all generations don’t want to work with, or report to, Baby Boomers in the future—a response that includes Baby Boomers themselves.

“These findings cast a shadow over the relationship Baby Boomers have with other generations,” said Grant Sexton, LMA executive chairman.

“The Baby Boomer issue is a sleeper—an emerging and ongoing challenge for HR departments.  It threatens to undermine stability of the workforce into the future because Baby Boomers will continue to occupy most leadership and senior management positions in this decade. Baby Boomers are now the challenge.”

Survey respondents were questioned on which generation they would prefer to work with and report to in the future. The findings showed:

To work with:

  • 17% of Baby Boomers prefer their own generation; 40% prefer Gen X; 27% Gen Y
  • 57% of Gen X prefer their own generation; 32% Gen Y; 4% Baby Boomers
  • 53% of Gen-Y prefer their own generation; 29% Gen-X; 4% Baby Boomers

To report to:

  • 41% of Baby Boomers prefer their own generation; 33% Gen X; 5% Gen Y
  • 71% of Gen X prefer their own generation; 14% Baby Boomers; 6% Gen Y
  • 50% of Gen Y prefer Gen X; 24% their own generation; 8% to Baby Boomers

(Remaining percentages in all categories covered Gen Z and declarations “not to work with or report to anyone else”.)

Sexton said the research findings highlighted the importance of finding a solution to potential generational dysfunction in the workplace, much of which is based on ineffective communication. “The way is open for a new way of thinking for those leaders and managers currently struggling with cross-generational dysfunction and generational diversity.”

Sexton will present the findings at the annual conference of the Australian Human Resources Institute in Sydney on June 7-8.

For more information on the research, see LMA’s L.E.A.D. Survey page.

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Adeline Teoh

Adeline Teoh

Adeline Teoh is a journalist with more than a decade of publishing experience in the fields of business, education, travel, health, and project management. She has specialised in business since 2003.

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