The world of business is in a unique place today. While there have always been multiple generations working together , never before have as many as five generations of workers co-existed side-by-side in the workplace. This makes this a landmark in the history of the working world. But what is interesting is that these disparate and fairly dissimilar groups have learnt to work together in spite of their widely varying ideas, attitudes and ways of working.
These five generations of workers have been named :
- Traditionalists – Born before 1946
- Boomers – Born between 1946 and 1964
- Generation X – Born between 1965 and 1976
- Millennials – Born between 1977 and 1997
- Generation Z (Also referred to as Generation 2020)– Born after 1997
Over the years the proportion of these five segments have been changing – it is estimated (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, USA) that at present, the Millennials are the largest group and by 2020 they are expected to make up a whopping three-quarters of the workforce.
Generation Z which is non-existent today will grow in size over the next 4-5 years. As these two groups grow in size, the older workforce – Traditionalists, Boomers and Generation X – decrease in proportion as they age and exit the workforce.
More than a shift in work–force demographics
But what is important is that the changes that occur are and will be much more than a shift in work-force demographics. As the world of business moves forward there will be major changes in organizational structure, business practices, work patterns, leadership styles and company policies and rules of business. Over the last few years, millennials have been taking on increasing roles in management as compared to Generation X and Boomers. The older workforce is fast being replaced by the younger lot who have different ways of working, who have new, creative ideas and strategies that they work to, who are inclined towards looser organizational structures.
While it is true that Millennials are the dominant proportion of the workforce today and will remain so in the future of work, the other four groups cannot be ignored. Whatever their age and however small a group they might be, they still belong to the category of workers or employees and with the advances in technology and the world, their attitudes and thinking also undergo an alteration.
As we move towards the future of work
So as we move towards the future of work, there is and will be workers across age groups and worker-groups, as defined above, who will be adopting the newer work styles and new approaches and new management techniques, while still retaining some of their original attitudes.
This has happened when the Millennials displaced the Generation X and the Boomers as the largest work-group and will happen again when Generation Z takes over from the Millennials as the biggest segment of employees – when Generation Z work with advanced technology like maybe time travel, AI and thinking robots, the other groups will also have to learn and adapt to the new business environment. This shift has already been set in motion and the Millennials, by sheer dint of size, are driving this change in the workplace at an extremely rapid pace.