Today, the attractiveness of an employer can no longer be defined simply and across the board. A wide variety of generations meet in companies and therefore bring with them a wide variety of know-how. But which generation has which professional ideas and how can the different demands be met in personnel marketing?
Only about 3% of today’s working population are so-called “Maturists” born before 1945. This “silent generation,” which has lived through and survived a world war, relies on morals, security and consistency. The car as a characteristic product and one’s own four walls as a goal in life characterize this generation, for whom communication still took place exclusively face-to-face or by letter.
They are being replaced by the Baby Boomers, who account for around 33% of professional activity in the market. Instead of letters, they reach for the telephone, the television replaces the car as the generation-defining product, and the goal in life shifts – job security takes on fundamental importance. Discipline, performance orientation and career aspirations characterize these baby boomers.
Generation X comprises the cohorts from 1961 to 1980 and currently has the strongest influence on the labor market, with 35% working. The focus is on the computer and the associated simplification of processes: people now prefer to communicate via e-mail and text messages. Nevertheless, coping with the media revolution and the rapid technological innovations is not automatic. The realization of individual life plans as well as the awareness and desire for separation of professional and private life are increasing – the work-life balance is gaining priority.
Among the Millennials, Generation Y, this has already been replaced by freedom and a sense of purpose, as well as self-realization, self-determination and self-expression via social networks. The generation born between 1981 and 1996 is therefore also known as the “social media generation” or the “me generation. In companies, they bring with them the “always-on mentality” and rely on storytelling. They question structures and conventional working conditions and practices. As a result, work-life integration is replacing work-life balance. Hierarchies and role models are no longer automatically accepted.
Generation Z – born fully into the technological age – is characterized by multiculturalism and is considered the most open-minded generation. It is establishing itself as a global culture, as characteristics and trends are becoming more uniform worldwide than ever before. As “digital natives” and with “patchwork careers,” they live at the interface between reality and virtuality and approach and deal with new technologies intuitively and with enthusiasm for innovation. Sustainability moves into focus.
In terms of values, norms and goals, these target groups are therefore very different from one another in terms of years of birth and thus bring a wide variety of inputs and levels of knowledge to society. For companies, this represents both a challenge and an opportunity. With targeted communication, the most diverse employees can be addressed and their needs recognized and met. One thing is clear: The new generations do not work “for” but “with” their employers.