Society has tried to define some demographic age groups of those born since 1900, and their general traits and characteristics, based on the culture at the time and the environment in which they grew up.
Roughly defined, Generation X refers to those who were born between 1965 and about the mid 1980s, and Generation Yer’s were born from about the late 1970s to mid to late 1990s. These dates are not agreed upon by everyone, and just every individual is unique, only generalizations can be made describing each generation’s characteristics. The Center For Generational Kinetics defines Generation Y as those being born between 1977 and 1995. There obviously is some overlapping of Gen X and Gen Y adults, but these generations have much in common.
After World War II ended in 1945, military troops returned home, and that started a boom in the number of babies being born. This “Baby Boomer” generation lasted from 1946 to 1964. The next generation, labeled “Generation X”, marked a time when the birth rate declined. Early Gen Xers (born between 1965 and about 1980) have also been called the “Baby Buster” generation. Those born between 1975 and the mid 1980s are sometimes given the sub-generation label of being the “boomerang generation”, as many who had been out on their own returned home to live with their parents temporarily before again moving out to live independently. They are also known as the “MTV generation”.
Gen Xers are typically well-educated, with over 60% attending college and 29% earning a Bachelor’s degree or higher. They have a strong work ethic, believing in hard work, while wanting jobs that are both fun and meaningful. They are willing to learn new skills to get better jobs, and like their parents, they tend to be loyal to one employer, but they aren’t afraid to seek better job opportunities. This group is tech savvy.
Generation Yers have also been referred to by many names, including “The Millennials”, “The Net Generation”, “The Digital Generation” and “Echo Boomers” to name a few. This group, thanks to their growing up in a time of instant communications, tends to have a strong relationship with their parents. They are “multi-taskers” and can expect to have several different careers during their lifetime. They are loyal to their employers, but want clear instructions on how to do their jobs, though they like to “do it their way” in order to complete their work tasks. In one sense, they are not tech savvy, but they are competent when it comes to using technology.
Generations X and Y have grown up in the computer age, so they are comfortable with technology and understand how to use it. They are computer literate, confident and well-educated. These groups have grown up in homes that have incomes from both parents, and some were “latch-key” kids in their youth. Many also experienced their parents’ divorces, and spending time in day care.
There are approximately 44 to 50 million Gen Xers, and an estimated 70 million Gen Yers. As the Baby Boomer population begins to enter retirement (in 2011 the oldest member of the Baby Boomers turned 65), it will Gen X and Y workers who will replace them in the workforce.