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Generational Differences

Researchers and experts often examine different generations in the workplace, looking for clues to improve management effectiveness. Recent studies suggest that employers should think twice before making stereotypical assumptions about individual employees based on age.

For example, although a stereotype exists that Millennials (those born after 1979, for purposes of this survey) are the "me" generation and have high expectations for employers, an international survey of hiring managers and HR professionals released Oct. 8, 2012, concluded that Generation X (those born between 1962 and 1979 for purposes of this survey) is "the most demanding age group" in the workplace.

According to the report, job candidates from Generation X are most likely to ask for:

Higher pay (36 percent).
Hiring bonus (29 percent).
Higher job title (24 percent).

By comparison, Millennial-age job candidates are most likely to ask prospective employers for:

Training (40 percent).
Job perks, such as free drinks or time off to volunteer (33 percent).
Flexible work hours (23 percent).

Once employed, those from Generation X are most likely to request:

Promotions (44 percent).
Flexible work locations (39 percent).
Nonscheduled bonuses (38 percent).
Millennials are most likely to ask for:
Mentors (42 percent).
Training (35 percent).
Nonscheduled bonus (28 percent).

Respondents said Baby Boomers (born mid-1940s to mid-1960s) are much less likely to make requests of employers, regardless of whether they are job candidates or employees. Just 12 percent of respondents had received requests from Baby Boomer job candidates for more vacation time, for example, and just 14 percent had received requests from Baby Boomer employees for reduced work hours or an extended leave of absence, the most popular requests identified by the survey for this age group.

"Age disparities in the office are perhaps more diverse now than they've ever been. It's not uncommon to see 30-year-olds managing 50-year-olds or 65-year-olds mentoring 22-year-olds," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "While the tenets of successful management are consistent across generations, there are subtle differences in work habits and views that all workers must empathize with when working with or managing someone who's much different in age."

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