For decades, it has been normal for job offers to be sorted by speciality, sector or trade. This has been the case with traditional job boards, the salmon pages of newspapers and even the first versions of Internet job portals. But for some time now, a different filter has appeared through which to define and limit the applicant: the generational factor.
A quick dive through InfoJobs or LinkedIn is enough to find packages of offers aimed at Generation X, regardless of the technological branch or the specialty to which they are limited. These are professional vacancies that include specific incentives for that particular public. Despite the heterogeneous nature of the so-called MTV Generation, their determination to lead an active, balanced and happy life stands out as a characteristic feature.
Is Generation X different?
Does that mean that previous or subsequent generations are not looking for the same thing? They do pursue it, but not through work, but in spite of it. Generation X equals personal needs to professional ones, in the interest of work-life balance and the development of their passion for outdoor leisure and culture, among other hobbies.
This is why they value professional, social or environmental commitments in their companies over traditional corporatism, which no longer serves as an anchor for a generation that is not afraid of changing their professional project if it delves into the unbalanced work life balance suffered by their parents. This is because “the standards of our upbringing shape us. As much or more than the events, people and problems we encounter along the way that change from one generation to the next,” as the sociologists who participated in the University of Michigan’s MTV Generation study agree.
Precisely because of this, and because of the serious economic crisis of the 1980s which led them to take their first professional steps in a strangulated market with hardly any vacancies to offer, they select their jobs very well. They are not afraid, as we said, to change projects if they are not satisfied or if they don’t prioritise the work-life balance that governs their impulses and which is as simple as being able to take or pick up their children from school a couple of times a week or having space to look after their parents.
These family responsibilities mean that flexible working hours and the ability to work from home as an option are particularly attractive choices for this generation.
A generation willing to demonstrate to their employers that they can prioritise their personal lives without sacrificing the quality of their work.
Social and labour relations viewed from X
Caring for social relations is therefore basic to the MTV Generation to such an extent that, on their list of priorities, the benefits of thriving in and out of work are at the same level. This is a concept of life widely developed by the sociologist Robert Putnam in his work ‘Only at the bowling alley: collapse and resurgence of the American community’, in which he develops the “collective struggle to retrace the career path taken by their parents” for which they neglected life for the sake of work, leading them to a “lifestyle of social isolation“.
The theory, for decades, has been that of the culture of professional effort for a simple individual economic reward and without the capacity to return any benefit to the company. But in practice, when employers strive to create an optimal balance with small rewards, employee job satisfaction and productivity shifts dramatically as a direct benefit to brands.
Generational mentality and attitude
The take-off of this change in mentality is becoming increasingly apparent now that the vast majority of the members of the MTV Generation are entering a stage of working maturity. Because the life cycle, and their ability to adapt to new technological trends – they have experienced the start and boom of the internet – makes them the generation that currently holds the top management positions in companies. Something that may be paradoxical after having grown up against the tide with rebellion as a generational sign of the nineties… right?
The key is that, contrary to what it may seem, inclusion in the managerial ranks has not erased the concerns of the MTV Generation. Rather, they have managed to introduce them into the company culture. They have converted the challenge against the traditional structures with which they grew up in the 1990s into the promotion of incentives that favour work-life balance. And promoting the attraction and retention of talent in exchange for tools and autonomy in terms of personal growth and work-life balance that go beyond the salary as a unique model of compensation in the labour market.