1965 – 1980
Continuing with our generation series, this month we analyse Generation X, an age group that is self-reliant, resourceful, and independent.
We’re not examining the popular Billy Idol, punk rock band Generation X (although some suggest that this is where the termed was originally coined!). Members of Generation X, or Gen Xers, grew up at a time when there were more dual-income families, single-parent households, and children of divorce. Consequently, many Gen Xers were quite independent children, spending part of the day without adult supervision, from between school and home until their parents returned from work. Gen Xers were the first generation to grow up with personal computers to some extent, thus becoming tech-savvy. They also experienced shaky economic times as children and young adults in the 1980s and ’90s due to mining strikes.
In the workplace, Generation X can be described as resourceful, independent, and keen on maintaining a work-life balance. They tend to be more liberal on social views and are a more ethnically diverse demographic compared with boomers.
Gen Xers value a healthy balance between time spent at work and personal time, wanting time to pursue other aspirations. They’ve lived through difficult economic times in the 1980s, therefore they can be less committed to employers than their baby boomer parents and tend to have a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
Requiring a healthy balance between work and life gives this generation strong time -management skills and ability to think strategically to become resourceful with their time and work processes.
Generation X adapts well to change, enjoys learning about new things and helping to put in place new policies and processes. The majority started life with little or no technology, with many in their first roles using typewriters. In general, they value a more informal workplace setting and will often make life -long friends at work.
What can we learn from Gen X?
A key trait is adaptability. Furthermore, studies show that they are much more likely than other generations to seek mentoring outside of an organisation, demonstrating their willingness to grow.