Gen Y sought after while Gen X flounder

Employers such as Google are trying to attract and retain young staff. Photo / News Corp Australia
Employers such as Google are trying to attract and retain young staff. Photo / News Corp Australia

These days it's all about Gen Y and attracting young people to workplaces, but futurist Bernard Salt believes there's one group we should all feel sorry for: Generation X.

In a video Salt explains that Generation X, which includes those aged 35 through to 50, is currently in the midst of the toughest part of life in many respects: peak career, peak kids, peak mortgage.

"This is a very tough time in life and Generation X is sailing through these years at the moment without any recognition at all," he said.

"Technically it's all about the Baby Boomers, now well over 50, or it's about Baby Boomer kids under the age of 35 ... but Generation X has suffered in silence."

Salt, who leads demographics at KPMG, said that Baby Boomers got fee-free university education between 1972 and 1987 but by the time Generation X came of age in the late 1980s, they had to start paying HECS.

An interior view of office space with an indoor climbing wall at the Googleplex, the corporate headquarters complex of Google, Inc. Photo / Getty
An interior view of office space with an indoor climbing wall at the Googleplex, the corporate headquarters complex of Google, Inc. Photo / Getty

Later, Xers went into the force work in the early 1990s when unemployment peaked at 12 per cent. Once they got jobs, they worked under Baby Boomer management but things changed just as they were being promoted into leadership positions.

Just before the year 2000, there was a shake-up when Gen Y's entered the workforce.

"Baby Boomer management went straight to the Y's. 'Are we paying you enough Generation Y? Is anyone being mean to you Generation Y? Can I get you a pillow Generation Y?'," Salt said.

He said his overall observation was that Gen X were the "silent generation", who Baby Boomers were relying on to fund their retirement.

"The generation that are the doers, the taxpayers, the workers, the consumers, that silently go about their work, perhaps we should all take a moment to reflect on the great contribution that Generation X make to society," he said.

Social researcher and fellow Gen Xer, Mark McCrindle agrees with Salt and said Gen X was kind of like the "middle child", who got overlooked, especially in the workplace.

"They came of age when the rules changed," he said. "They obeyed the boss and had respect for authority but when Gen X got leadership positions, the rules changed and suddenly it was about adapting to the younger generation, how to attract and communicate with them," he said.

"Gen X never got their moment in the sun."

McCrindle said Baby Boomers had the wealth and power and now Generation Y was in the power seat.

"It's the era of innovation, entrepreneurs, adaptation and the younger generation have those skills," he said.

"They are more empowered than any young people have ever been but to the detriment of Generation X in many ways."

He said Gen X seemed to be in the "grey area" of life at the moment, neither young and emerging, or wealthy and set up.

"But I think they have a lot to be proud of," he said. "They have the dutiful work ethic that Australia has benefited from.

"They have worked hard, are bearing the burden of taxes, done dutiful parenting and haven't made much of a fuss. They have just on with it."

McCrindle also believed Gen Xers could have their best years ahead of them.

"Because of their children and the era, they have adapted and responded," he said. "Gen Xers are adapting, changing careers and upskilling.

"Generation Xers have yet to make their mark, they will work later and live longer. I wouldn't write them off just yet."

- news.com.au

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 25 Feb 2017 22:31:23 Processing Time: 1162ms