Which Generation in the Workplace is More Able to Handle a Recession?
Businesses these days are in a unique position in which there are four generations in the workplace. First, there are those who have been working for years and who, in better economic times, would be close to retiring. Then there are the Baby Boomers who are approaching retirement and, in many cases, caring for aging parents and working with their adult children to pay off student loans. There are also the Gen-Xers (30-somethings, mostly) and members of Generation Y. Each of these generations is going to be impacted by the economic recession.
With the current economic recession which, according to economic strategists, has been going on since December of 2007, those at the helm of a business who are seeing four generations in the workplace are gaining additional perspective on the impact of the economy. This is particularly true when looking at each of the generations and seeing how they respond to layoffs or a flat salary.
The most mature workers – those who, in a different time would be retiring and who, in some cases have returned to the workforce after having spent some time in retirement – are going to find themselves in a position in which they do feel that there is some threat of losing their job. However, these veteran workers do have an advantage in a recession: their approach to working and earning has long been to earn money for the sake of putting it away and being able to pay cash for the items that they want.
The Baby Boomers, in many cases, are finding different challenges with the current economic tide. In part, this is because the Boomers are the first generation that approached purchases with a buy now, pay later concept. While some are prepared for retirement, others are finding that with home values dropping and stocks losing value and credit card debt are going to have an impact on when they will be able to retire.
Members of Generation X tend to be a bit more conservative than the Boomers, focusing on saving as much as possible. However, the youngest of the four generations in the workplace – Generation Y – approach work as an opportunity to earn the money that they will turn around and spend on technology, cars, clothing and other items.
Ultimately, it seems that of the four generations in the workplace, the most mature workers – the Traditionalists – are going to have an advantage simply because they have been saving for an extended period of time. The Generation Xers who follow the trends and are more cautious and conservative with their money will also find that they are in a position to ride out a recession. It’s the Baby Boomers who are unprepared for retirement and the youngest members of the workplace to whom saving isn’t a concept that they practice who will face the most challenges./
While the Traditionalists are likely to be in the best position to handle layoffs or not receiving a holiday bonus, they are also going to be in a position to pass their insights down to others. Those who are struggling more with the recession will find that they do have one advantage: thanks to four generations in the workplace, they will be able to benefit from saving tips and advice that they receive from those who are more prepared for tight financial times.