Workers across generations are back on the job market today looking for new opportunities.
And Boomers may be on the wrong side of the generation gap.
Forty years ago, Boomers wore the right clothes, listened to the right music, watched the hip movies, and generally confused or scared their parents.
In other words, the Boomers were on the right side of the generation gap.
So it’s interesting to stumble across a column written this week by a student at Florida A&M University headlined, “Move Over Boomers, Generation Y is Taking Over.”
In the column, which discussed the power of technology and social networking, the author argued that Gen Y is changing the workforce. Her reasoning: “Younger professionals prefer to wear flip-flops and jeans to work.”
Now, it seems unlikely that people have dressed this casually to the office since the Silicon Valley heydays of the 1990s, but her larger point is not without merit.
A new survey from Adecco Group North America, a recruitment and workforce solutions provider, said that a “war of talent” has begun in the American workforce as people across generations will begin looking for new jobs over the next year. This, of course, assumes that the labor market will improve.
Luckily for boomers, Generation Y hasn’t exactly changed the workforce, according to Jodi Chavez, a senior vice president with Ajilon, a division of the Adecco Group. But the generation is starting to have a small impact in how the job market could one day look. “They haven’t been in the workforce long enough yet to change it,” Chavez said. “What we’re seeing is the beginning of a trend in which they are moving the needle for the type of work they want.”
What Chavez means is that Gen Yers are more entrepreneurial and more interested in industries, like communications and green jobs, rather than just positions. Boomers, meanwhile, are more interested in positions that fit their skill set and experience level, but are not necessarily as picky about the industry.
But what is perhaps most interesting about the survey’s results is that in the coming year both Gen Yers and boomers will be looking for new jobs.
About 30% of the former who responded to the survey said they will be on the market. About 29% of the latter will on the hunt.
To be clear: These aren’t people who are unemployed, but rather those who are dissatisfied with their current position and ready to move on. But with many boomers nearing retirement, will they really be flooding the job market again?
“From some of the comments that we were hearing back from the baby boomers, many were looking for a different opportunity because they didn’t see a pay increase or recognition or increased responsibility,” Chavez said. “The only way they could get that increase is look somewhere else.”
Because of differences in experience levels and interests in the type of jobs they are interested in, Chavez does not expect that there will be a cross-generational fight for jobs. In other words, there is a bit of a generation gap within the workforce.
“There is a division between what Generation Y is looking for,” Chavez said. “Employers tend to continue to look for that baby boomer group when looking for experience. They still see a lot of value in baby boomers that they can’t get out of Generation Y.”
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