Generations 101 (Baby Boomers)

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Summary: Baby Boomers

  • Born between 1946-1964

  • 80 million Boomers will leave the workforce in the next decade

  • Many Boomer characteristics are counter-Millennial

Each generation has a story. The Boomers (born between 1946-1964), have been referred to by some as the “Me” generation (sound familiar Millennials???). They are activists and radicals- “anti” (at least growing up) traditional patterns and trends. Boomers, for the most part, are leaders in current organizations. Similar to the Silent-generation, Boomers are career-loyalists. They are also professionally competitive, very career focused, and tend to hesitate when it comes to “trusting” Gen X, Gen Y (Millennials), and Gen Z. This generation holds a significant position of power in corporate-America today but, 80 million Boomers will leave the workforce within the next decade.

The Boomers, those who rejected traditional cultural norms, went on to eventually become a wealthy consumer base. Boomers, who earned their name from a Boom in birth rates following WWII, value(d) financial prosperity. During this generational shift women also entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers-which dramatically influenced family-roles.

Within organizations, Baby Boomers are classified as career loyalists, believing that job-hopping negatively affects career advancement. This sentiment may be bristled at by Millennials. In many ways, Boomers are ‘workaholics,’ committed to long work hours, and stressed with little leisure time (again—anti-Millennial). Many Boomers have stayed in their organizations longer than anticipated, primarily because of the 2008-recession. Because of this delay, Generation X members may miss out on key leadership positions, as Millennials enter the workforce in droves and “come to power”. Boomers established a workplace precedent-minimal flexibility, loyal to “the job” and/or organization, top-down structures, and long-hours. Many of these characteristics run counter to what every Millennials care about.

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