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September 22, 2011

The X Factor: Are We the Forgotten Generation?

Filed under: Communication,General HR Buzz — Tags: — Joyce Marsh, HR Consultant, SPHR @ 10:53 am

By now, we all know that in the workplace, we are faced with multiple generations trying to get along.  Each time a new article or blog appears telling me how I can relate to Generation Y, I become just a bit more apathetic.  But wait, that’s a defining characteristic of our generation, right?  We didn’t have helicopter parents; most of us lived in households where both our parents worked or single-parent homes.

Generation X could be regarded as the forgotten “middle child:” sandwiched between the firstborn achievers, the Baby Boomers and the gold-star loving Generation Y babies of the family.  Our generation is the smallest in the workforce today: a mere 46 million compared to the 78 million Baby Boomers and 70 million Generation Y employees.  In spite of that fact, a new report lends some credence to the assertion that Generation X may be the most critical generation of all.  The non-profit Center for Work-Life Study released a report this week entitled The X Factor: Tapping Into the Strength of the 33- to 46-Year Old Generation.

Key Findings:

  • 43 percent of women are delaying or opting out of having children.
  • Ambition is gender-neutral: 75 percent of women and 72 percent of men consider themselves ambitious.
  • Debt determines many Generation Xers’ career choices.
  • 41 percent of Xers say they are unhappy with their level of advancement, having been thwarted by Baby Boomers that have not retired and threatened by Generation Y.
  • The “slacker” generation enrolled and graduated college in record numbers: over a third hold bachelor’s degrees and 11 percent hold graduate degrees.

According to the press release, the study was “comprised of virtual strategy sessions, ten focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and a survey of 2,952 U.S. college-educated men and women in white collar occupations.”

“Xers may have become accustomed to being invisible but ‘the X Factor’ proves that no company can afford to ignore them now.”

Where were you the first time you heard this?

To quote Kurt: “Here we are now, entertain us.”

In case you missed them:

What Managers Need to Know About Generation X

When – and Whether – to Have a Family

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