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‘Generations’ at work are more complicated than was once thought…

by on January 29, 2015

Well, to be fair, I don’t think we’ve ever suggested on this blog that the concept of a ‘generation’ was less than problematic, particularly when used in the media to suggest a group – loosely and often inconsistently defined by their year of birth – who allegedly share characteristics, for example, regarding attitudes to work.

In this item on the BBC website, the findings are highlighted of what is described as ‘an extensive new study of more than 16,000 millennials in 43 nations’ put together by consulting firm Universum and the INSEAD business school’s Emerging Markets Institute. The headline finding is that the millennial generation is ‘even more complex than one might expect’ and not ‘nearly as homogeneous’ as was once suspected (by some…).

The article focuses mostly on differences based on country in which the millennials live and work, prompting global organizations to report the need for culturally sensitive differences of emphasis in how they recruit and retain workers.

Of course, one of the major limitations is that the study appears to only look at one group of workers (millennials) based on their year of birth falling within a particular range. We therefore have no idea whether these reported attitudes and values are shared by workers of other ages in the same country or not. This is an unfortunate omission if reports such as these are used as the basis for developing corporate recruitment and retention policies.

The link to the Universum website that hosts this material on millennials is here.

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