In order to run a successful business, it is advantageous to understand the demographic distinctions of the various generations which make up the American work force.
The Traditionalists, born before the year 1946, are the oldest generation in the workforce. The war-weary traditionalist was ready to turn over a new leaf after the terror of WWII came to an end. Their can-do spirit attitude helped them to rebuild their nation and their lives. The average “silent,” as they are also called, is faithful, disciplined, an avid reader, and probably enjoys swing dancing!
The Baby Boomers are the result of a population explosion at the end of WWII. They make up one of the largest American generations, with about 77 million people born from the years 1946 to 1964. Boomers are largely successful, optimistic, team-oriented, and know how to have a great time! This generation of revolutionaries and rock & rollers propelled a cultural transformation from the 50s through the 80s. In the 80s, the young boomers were coined ‘yuppies,’ translated as ‘young upwardly mobile professionals.’
Generation X, which followed the Boomers, was a time in which the birth rates in America began to decline. “Gen-Xers,” born from 1965-1976, tend to be entrepreneurial and out-of-the-box thinkers. They are characterized as being more concerned about the needs of individuals than those of society. Following in the footsteps of their predecessors, they carried on the cultural transformation of the Boomers.
Today’s young adults, whose birth year’s range from 1981-1997, are known as Millennials. Though this generation is known for its appetite for entitlements, they possess an intuitive technical skill not found in other generations. Since the youngest millennials are under 20 years old, their best days are still ahead! The technological advances of recent times give millennials countless opportunities to accomplish great things. Studies show that millennials are eager to be trusted with their unique creative and technical abilities. With a little bit of guidance and faith, the millennials have the capacity to leave an amazing legacy!
Generation 2020 is made up of those born after 1997. These novices do not know what life was like before laptops or cell phones. Like the Millennials, they have had the advantage of growing up in a world of rapidly advancing technology. The oldest Gen 20’s turn 18 this year and many are entering the workforce for the first time. It will be exciting to see what amazing contribution this tech-intuitive generation will make to society at large.
Knowing more about these generational groups will help you relate better to both employee and consumer for a more effective business strategy!
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