Do you know your Baby Boomers from Generation X, Generation Y and for that matter the newly appointed Generation Z? Generations X and Y already dominate the UK workforce by more than 65 per cent and culturally, they pose significant challenges for businesses and their relationships with customers.
I’m a child of the Baby Boomer generation (only just I might add!), having been born between 1945 and 1960. I find myself regularly noticing the differing subtleties between the Baby Boomer group, Generation X (1961-1980, or early 50’s-30’s) and Generation Y (1981-1995, or early 30’s to 19). What’s interesting is the rate at which those differences are becoming more apparent.
Within the next 5-10 years, Generation Y will come to dominate the purchasing market. From that point on, a whole new raft of deciders will prevail. Generation Y is driven by a high exposure to the media, the convenience of immediate access, on-demand services and an utter dependence on technology. Time magazine called them 'the most threatening & exciting generation since the baby boomers brought about social revolution'.
As customers, they expect far greater levels of engagement, accessible to them anywhere and at any time. For brands or organisations, it’s important to understand how your future target market wants to be communicated with, and through which channels, especially online.
In the workplace, employers would do well to understand the new and dynamic motivations of Generation Y. They require their roles to be more challenging and interesting, all whilst demanding clearer definitions of their career pathways than previous generations were ever afforded. This equally translates to their purchasing motivators.
Understanding the differences between these ever changing demographics will enable you to harness the right channels now to build relationships with new and existing customers, clients and partners. Failing to do so will hinder those future relationships, and stifle business growth.
It gets scarier
I’ve not really spoken about the scariest and most compelling generation of them all.
Anyone with younger families will no doubt notice the monumental differences in how their worlds are completely and utterly reliant upon constant connectivity to everything via technology. This new generation is being shaped by the legacy of the economic downturn, global warming, wiki-leaks, cloud computing, mobile devices, living their lives online & in public, self media production, unlimited internet speeds, instant access to all forms of music, video and the complete globalisation of everything. These technoholics, entirely dependent on their mastered IT skills and likely to launch nothing short of a full-scale panic alert during a power cut, have been branded Generation Z.
Generation Z will reshape the corporate world. Career multitaskers, they are far more likely to be found moving seamlessly between organisations, assuming short term roles whilst remaining plugged into digital media, eating 3D printed food and being permanently chauffeured by driverless cars.
And the most interesting part of it all? Generation Z started in 1995, which means they’re already moving into the workplace.