Regardless of which side of the generational divide you fall, you’ve probably noticed a difference in how your younger - or older - colleagues act in the workplace.
Millennials have often been labeled as “lazy” while baby boomers have been criticized as being “out of touch.” The finger pointing and name calling reached a boiling point recently with the headline-grabbing “OK, Boomer” catchphrase.
Stereotypes aside, how do millennials and boomers really feel about their colleagues? We surveyed millennials and baby boomers to analyze their relationships in the workplace as well as how they conduct business together to find out.
When it comes to company loyalty, perception is a little far off from reality. While 91 percent of millennials say boomers are loyal to their employers and only 60 percent of boomers say the same about millennials, the reality is quite different. In fact, both generations are willing to head for greener pastures. According to respondents, 84 percent of millennials and 75 percent of boomers say they would leave their current company for more money. And they plan to leave sooner than you might think. One-third of millennials and 39 percent of boomers say they plan to leave their current job within the next six months.
On the other hand, boomers have more faith in their employers than millennials. According to respondents, 60 percent of boomers say that companies are loyal to their employees while only 40 percent of millennials feel the same way.
OK, Boomer vs. OK, Millennial
When it comes to advancing in the workplace, 30 percent of millennial respondents say they feel they’re being held back by an older colleague and, shockingly, one-quarter have quit their job because of an older boss, manager or colleague.
However, it appears to be millennials who are the most responsible for pushing colleagues out of the workplace. According to boomer respondents, 36 percent have quit their job because of a millennial boss, manager or colleague and more than half (52%) have experienced age discrimination in the workplace.
Perhaps the reason why both millennials and boomers have quit over their colleagues is due to the traits they find the most annoying about one another. For baby boomers, its millennials’ smartphone use (48%), sense of entitlement (41%) and laziness (35%) that gets under their skin the most. For millennials, it’s their older coworkers’ “know it all” personalities (52%), sense of entitlement (47%) and egos (34%) that sets them off.
As much as these differences set both generations apart, they both know when to give credit where credit is due. When it comes to admiration, millennial respondents find their boomer colleagues to be dependable (42%), punctual (41%) and have the ability to have a keen eye for detail (26%). For boomers, they find their younger colleagues to be positive (34%), problem solvers (32%) and accountable (24%).
From Feb. 28 through March 13, 2020, we surveyed 1,005 millennials between the ages of 24 to 39 and 1,025 baby boomers between the ages of 56 to 74. All respondents reported as working full-time in a variety of industries.
The average age for millennial respondents was 31 and the average age for baby boomers was 57. For millennial respondents, 50 percent were male and 50 percent were female. For baby boomer respondents, 51 percent were female and 49 percent were male.
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