The gender-generation gap

2006

We all know about the gender gap in he workplace – more specifically, about the differences in behaviour between men and women. But as Jeff Zaslow explores in the Wall Street Journal, there is also a growing gender-generation gap.

… some female bosses from Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) are finding a clear generation gap with female employees from Generation Y (born after 1980). Likewise, some female bosses who are baby boomers (1946 to 1964) or from the World War II generation (born before 1945) often have trouble relating to women born at other times. These struggles can hamper mentoring and damage productivity.

But is this really a gender issue, or symptomatic of the broader differences between increasingly cynical younger workers and their older colleagues?

Back to the WSJ piece:

Ms. McLemore, 60, often works until 11 p.m., but her young staffers tend to be 9-to-5ers. "They'll tell me, 'Wow. That was really late when you sent me the email last night.'" She tries to understand the reasons behind their reluctance to work hard. "Some are less interested in putting in long hours because they've seen their mothers do it, and they don't want that stress. I've heard this from women in all industries again and again."

As a raft of workplace research shows all too clearly, this attitude is prevalent throughout Generation Y (born after 1980). And the answer doesn't seem to hard to find, either. As the psychological contract between employers and employees continues to be eroded by waves of downsizing, reorganisation and cuts in benefits, is it any wonder that younger workers – men as well as women –feel less inclined to put the job before their lives and work until midnight?

Wall Street Journal | A New Generation Gap: Differences Emerge Among Women in the Workplace

Older Comments

Well one thing that is certainly true in my experience is 'many young staffers don't spell-check their writing, and are haphazard about capitalization'. That's absolutely what I see with younger women (and I'm also in PR)

Lorna

The issue is actually Security. The worry of what's around the corner has made staff want to 'milk for the cream' and not for the milk itself. Make a quick-buck now in the least amount of time. Only WE, all of us, can change this. My solution is culture creation. This is developed from the top of the organogram, but must be implemented in a strategic and clinical way - that provides consistency, innovation and security for all concerned. This in turn will alter our workforce-focus, back to the organization and not wether they will still be in a job, tomorrow.

Gary W. Reilly London, United Kingdom