September 18, 2011 in Thoughts
In a new study from the Center for Work-Life Policy, it was found that despite being the smallest generation – around 46 million – Generation X might be “the most critical generation of all” for employers.
Work-life balance is something I feel very strongly about. As someone who is a very hard worker (sometimes too hard, to my point), I feel that I myself am most effective when a work-life balance is achieved that allow me to switch out of work mode without guilt (something I’m still mastering, to be honest).
It’s something also that I’ve needed to force myself into, but continually find it more rewarding to make sure all aspects of my life are harmonized. It’s created efficiency in the way I work, and given me the ability to enjoy non-work life without feeling like an under-achiever (something I couldn’t have said 5 years ago).
I documented some interesting stats and insights that were specific to Generation X females over at Girls in Tech, but also wanted to highlight some other interesting points that are important for professional life and today’s workers.
- Their extreme work schedules (nearly a third of high-earning Gen Xers work 60+ hours a week), strong career ambition, the current economic challenges, as well as changing mores and life choices are all factors that contribute to their high level of childlessness compared to other generations.
- Gen X is the first generation not to match their parents’ living standards.
- Due to their own financial concerns, Boomers are not retiring and are choosing instead to work an average of nine years longer than anticipated. This delays Gen X’s career progression, resulting in their feeling stalled in their careers and dissatisfied with their rate of advancement.
- Having been front and center for every major economic crisis of the past 30 years, Xers possess exactly the sort of resilience that organizations need as they face an uncertain future.
- Most important, Xers are masters at mastering change—a skill set critical in every company today. They have been laid off, restructured, outsourced, reorganized and relocated more than any other generation in modern times—yet they are hugely hard-working and ambitious, eager to amplify their talents by learning new skills and garnering new experiences. However, employers must take warning: These strengths risk being nullified by diminished loyalty, declining engagement—and increasing apathy.
- A surprisingly large proportion of Xers are delaying or even opting out of parenting: 43 percent of Xer women and 32 percent of Xer men do not have children.
- Despite having been nicknamed the “slacker generation,” Generation X enrolled in higher education in record numbers. Over a third of Gen X hold bachelor’s degrees and 11 percent have graduate degrees.
- Debt determines many Xer career choices, with 43 percent of Xers saying that their ability to pay off their student loans is an important factor in their career choices and 74 percent saying the same about credit card debt.
- The vast majority (91%) of X women and 68 percent of X men are part of a dual-earning couple. More than a third (36%) of Gen X women out-earn their spouses.
You can download the full press release on the Center for Work-Life Policy’s website.