Thursday, August 9, 2012

Is Gen X the Forgotten Middle Child of the Workplace?

Last month the Wall Street Journal reported that the student loan delinquency rate in the U.S. is now highest for those in their 40's, that is, for members of Generation X. When speaking of economic status, however, most media coverage focuses on Millennial student debt and Baby Boomer unemployment.

Are we ignoring the plight of Generation X by focusing all our worries on the Millennials and Baby Boomers?

When it comes to the workplace, the answer is yes. Gen Xers feel stuck between Baby Boomers, who won't retire, and Millennials, who are perceived (falsely, most Gen Xers argue) as cheaper and more digitally savvy. Generation X is the forgotten middle child at work and increasingly disengaged as a result.

The irony is that Gen Xers are a critical component of most companies' succession plans. When those 80 million Baby Boomers do exit their roles, organizations expect a mere 46 million Gen Xers to fill their shoes.  Ignoring or marginalizing the development needs and engagement levels of Generation X is financially and strategically foolish.

My whitepaper, 5 Strategies for Engaging Generation X, addresses this topic in depth and provides targeted solutions for companies execute. Feel free to download it. Additionally, you can attend my September 19 webcast, Keeping High Potentials Engaged, hosted by the Human Capital Institute.

Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, Interchange Group
Workforce Strategies for the New Economy