Boomers vs Millennials – Ding Ding Round 2

The showdown between Baby Boomers and Millennials has begun. Over the last few years, the Boomers and Millennials have been in Round 1 of a boxing match. Boomers are set to retire in high numbers, while Millennials are entering the workforce in record numbers. It looks likes Round 2 will be more like a UFC style fight. I promise, it doesn’t have to be.

I’m a Millennial by most definitions. I am a product of a Boomer father and Gen X mother. I also spent a lot of time with my grandparents, who all were within the Silent Generation. I cannot count the number of “kids these days” comments I’ve heard in my life. Personally, I think each generation says that about the next. It’s a rite of passage.

So here we are. Boomers were the biggest generation to date. Now we are at the crossroads of a busy intersection of Boomers, Gen Xers, and now Millennials. What can we do? Identifying some differences can help us understand what is coming.

Millennials Are Better Different

By 2025, estimates show that 75% of the entire workforce will be Millennials. That means that a lot will most likely change over the next decade. What is crazy is the way that Millennials put their heart and soul into work. If they believe in the “why”, they will dedicate everything to it.

Contrast with Boomers who simply worked to live, the Millennials find their value is in contributing to causes greater than just them. Things will most likely become consumer-centric and focus around what is best for the customer mentality. Millennials aren’t better, their different.

In my chart below, I have grouped characteristics of Boomers and Millennials by Values, Attributes, and Work Style. The text in blue shows commonality between the two generations. Since opposites attract, maybe Millennials and Boomers are too much alike, hence the turmoil.

  Baby Boomers Millennials
Values Individual Choice Collaborative
  Community Civic Duty
  Prosperity Debt based
  Ownership Renter
  Anti-Government Anti-establishment
  Anything is possible Anything is possible
  Equal Rights Diversity centric
  Loyalty Loyal to ideas and causes
  Personal Gratification Instant Gratification
  Question Everything Question the why of everything
  Trust no one over 30 Trust no one
  Want to “make a difference” Has to “make a difference”
  Competitive Competitive
  Dedicated Hard working, will leave
  Independent Team based
  Passionate Very passionate
  Tech Savvy
Attributes Adaptive Adapt rapidly
  Goal-oriented Goal-oriented
  Focus on individual choices Focus on team collaboration
  Freedom Freedom
  Adaptive to diverse workplace Accept diversity
  Positive attitude Untrusting attitude
Style Confidence Confidence
  Team-building Team work
  Collaborative Collaborative
  Avoid conflict Conflict starts discussions
  Work is definition of self Work is expression of self
  Traditional work life Flexible work life
  Passive involvement Active involvement
  Continuous education


Question: What preparations are you making for the Millennial invasion? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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