Baby Boomers are leaving the industry in record numbers while Generation Z and Millennials are quickly entering and moving up the corporate ladder. But why are we not reading anything about Generation X in the workplace?
There is a general assumption that older generations are not as tech-savvy as younger generations. However, studies have found that Generation X is on par with Millennials in this aspect. These are individuals whose careers have evolved with technology which arguably makes them the first set of early adopters.
Other reports suggest that Generation X ranks higher in terms of empathy than their younger counterparts. This is particularly important when it comes to interpersonal relationships which are paramount in management positions including client work and team building.
Unfortunately, even with these excellent qualities, it appears as though many companies are passing over Generation X when it comes to promotions. Millennials are much more likely to advance quickly in their careers putting them on par or even above their Generation X colleagues. In fact, it has been found that even Baby Boomers are likely to be promoted at a faster rate than Generation X. For this reason, Generation X can be referred to as the forgotten generation in many industries.
This lack of career advancement can be absolutely devastating when it comes to employee morale. Many Gen Xers feel unsatisfied in their positions citing being underappreciated, undervalued, and underutilized. That being said they are not always so likely to begin looking for another job – another characteristic of these individuals is that they tend to be very loyal. This means that they will stay in these mid-level positions when they could otherwise be better benefiting the company.
However, please note that loyal does not have to mean complacent. Many Generation Xers are still very worried about developing their skills and continually challenging themselves. However, they tend to be much more likely than other generations to seek development from external sources.
When strategizing the future of your company takes some time to consider the potential of your Generation X employees. Many of these individuals have likely been with your company for years, which means that they have both the industry experience and the company knowledge that can only come with time. Promoting them to higher positions will help close the skills gap that may exist in younger employees that are quickly moving up the corporate ladder. Not to mention, you will be rewarding loyal talent, which will likely result in higher workplace satisfaction and an overall better work product.