ESSAY: Various Generations in the Workforce

List and define the various generations in the workforce today. What characterizes each? How are they different? How are they similar? What are the biggest challenges in managing so many generations? Your essay should be a minimum of 500 words and cite at least 5 academic references.


Various Generations in the Workplace

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The contemporary working environment is undergoing a lot of change in its attempts to effectually adapt to new opportunities. Some of these changes relate to its population diversity. Workplace population diversity can be analyzed in differences of education, age, sex, race, nationality, and skill level among other determinants (Becton, Walker, & Jones-Farmer, 2014). Differences based on age, historical as well as social life experiences foster the generational categorization of the workplace population. Since the early 20th century, historical events have been playing critical roles in the shaping and reshaping of society. According to Grubb (2016), these events have shaped the peoples’ attitudes, behaviors, inspirational buttons, and values. Additionally, these events have changed the nature of work and its configuration.

Presently, there are five main categories of workplace generations. These include the traditionalists, the baby boomers, and the generations X, Y, and Z (Grensing-Pophal, 2018). Understanding these generations’ differences and effectively managing them is critical to creating positive multigenerational working environments. With that said, the following is an overview of the workplace generations’ characteristics, similarities, and differences. This paper also analyzes the challenges faced when managing a multigenerational workforce.

The five main categories of workplace generations are discussed below:

  • Traditionalists: Also known as matures or the silent generation, these individuals were born between the years 1928 and 1955 (Parry, 2014). However, not many of them are currently in employment. Therefore, they make up for a tiny percentage of the total workplace population. These individuals are known for their loyalty, which they strongly value. Besides, they are adaptive, especially since they had the opportunity of working in numerous hard economic times (Grubb, 2016). Also, they are disciplined, hard-working, and value good work ethics.
  • Baby boomers: This generation’s members were born between the years 1946 and 1964 and are currently in their 50s and 60s (Grubb, 2016). Just like traditionalists, they are known to be loyal and dedicated. Nonetheless, they make up for a goal-oriented generation that is predominantly motivated by praise, career development, high responsibility levels, and promotions (Parry, 2014). The main difference between the baby boomers and the matures is that the former work because it is right to do so while the latter work because they have to.
  • Generation X: Individuals in this grouping were born between the years 1965 and 1980. Compared to baby boomers, they are fewer in numbers (Becton, Walker, & Jones-Farmer, 2014). However, they are today recognized for creating balances in the working life. This is because they personally witnessed how their parents worked in emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting work environments. These individuals are currently in their 30s and 40s. Additionally, they enjoy working under minimal supervision and love creating desirable relations with their mentors. Concerning promotions, they believe that responsibilities should be awarded on the basis of rank and seniority (Parry, 2014). Just like their immediate predecessors, they are motivated by promotions and bonuses. Also, they are flexible and adaptable to change. Therefore, gaining high-tech skills is essential to them.
  • Generation Y: Individuals in this grouping were born between the years 1981 and 1999. They are also referred to as the internet generation or millennials. As claimed by Grensing-Pophal (2018), these individuals are egocentric and value wealth and riches more than anything else. Much like the ‘generation Xters,’ these individuals value balanced working lives. They are the most educated generation. Moreover, they are tech-savvy and comfortable with working in diversely populated workforces. They can ..
  • Generation Z: these individuals were born after 1999. They are just starting to enter the working environment (Flippin, 2017). However, they require supervision and a lot of face-to-face communication.

Because of these individuals’ differences, challenges in the workplace may occur. These challenges relate to cultural expectations as well as the differences in age, values, and communication styles (Grubb, 2016). However, accurate analyses of the generations’ differences are crucial in bridging the gaps. Every working environment has indicators of its different generations’ motivations and driving forces. Therefore, responding to each of the generations’ motivations will eradicate any associated challenges. Additionally, …


Becton, J. B., Walker, H. J., & Jones-Farmer, L. (2014). Generational differences in workplace behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 44(2), 175-189.

Flippin, C. S. (2017). Generation Z in the Workplace: Helping the Newest Generation in the Workforce Build Successful Working Relationships and Career Paths. Memphis: Candace Steele Flippin.

Grensing-Pophal, L. (2018, February 26). How to Handle 5 Generations in the Workplace. Retrieved from HR Daily Advisor:

Grubb, V. M. (2016). Clash of the Generations: Managing the New Workplace Reality. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Parry, E. (2014). Generational Diversity at Work: New Research Perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge.

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