baby boomers vs. millennials

Baby Boomers vs. Millennials

As if there weren't enough tension already between Millennials and Baby Boomers, our recent State of Enterprise Work report shows a big gap between how these generations view each other vs. how they view themselves.

In a survey of 617 individuals who work at large enterprises (500 plus employees), we asked each generation to rank themselves and each other in 12 key areas, from "hardest workers" to "biggest roadblocks."

See our SlideShare "7 Ways Generations Clash in The Workplace" for more interesting stats about generational differences at work.

(Now we're kind of wishing we had asked who would win in a cage fight, who are the best drivers, and who has the best taste in music. Maybe next year.)

Wondering which generation you fit into? Here's the age you have to be in 2015 to count in each group. If you're right on the borderline, pick whichever generation you think is coolest.

  • Baby Boomers: currently ages 51 to 69.
  • Generation X: currently ages 35 to 50.
  • Millennials/Generation Y: currently ages 18 to 34.

Naturally, all three generations ranked themselves best in every single category. But some of the results are surprising, especially when you compare responses from the oldest and youngest generations.

What Millennials Think of Baby Boomers

  • Only 1% consider Baby Boomers to be the most tech-savvy generation.
  • Only 2% think Baby Boomers are the most creative generation.
  • Fifty-four percent say Baby Boomers are the biggest roadblocks in the workplace.

What Baby Boomers Think of Millennials

  • Only 1% think Millennials have the strongest work ethic.
  • Only 6% consider Millennials the hardest workers OR the most productive.
  • Seventy-six percent say Millennials are least likely to take responsibility.


The Kindest Generation

Despite all the negativity above, it should be noted that 67 percent of Baby Boomers are willing to acknowledge that Millennials are the most tech-savvy generation.

And far more Baby Boomers awarded "most creative" status to Millennials (32 percent) than to their own generational peers (20 percent).

Millennials were not nearly as generous to their elders. They ranked Baby Boomers at the bottom of every single positive category: hardest workers, most productive, strongest work ethic, most skilled, most creative, best troubleshooters/problem solvers, most friendly/helpful, and most tech-savvy.

However, Millennials were at least willing to rank themselves worse than the Baby Boomers in two of the four negative categories:

  • Just over half, 54%, of Millennials say that their own generation is least likely to take responsibility (only 13% of Millennials accuse Baby Boomers of this offense).
  • Nearly half, 49%, of Millennials say their peers are the biggest complainers (while only 23% accuse Baby Boomers of this).

That's got to count for something. Maybe there's hope for generational harmony yet.

To see how Baby Boomers compare to Millennials (and Generation X too) in all 12 categories, download the full report for free.

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