Bookends generation leveraging talent and finding common ground


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Bookends generation leveraging talent and finding common ground

  1. 1. BOOKEND GENERATIONS:LEVERAGING TALENT AND FINDING COMMON GROUND Sylvia Ann Hewlett Maggie Jackson Laura Sherbin Peggy Shiller Eytan Sosnovich Karen SumbergCenter for Work-Life PolicyStudy sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, Ernst & Young, Time Warner, UBS
  2. 2. THE HIDDENDRAIN BRAIN TASK FORCE CO-CHAIRS MEMBERS American Express Alcoa Inc.* Bloomberg LP Aon Booz Allen Hamilton Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Ernst & Young LLP Boehringer Ingelheim USA General Electric Company Booz & Company Goldman Sachs BT Group* Intel Cisco Systems* Johnson & Johnson Citi* Time Warner Cleveland Clinic Credit Suisse* Deloitte Deutsche Bank Federal Reserve Bank of New York General Mills Genzyme Corporation GlaxoSmithKline Google International Monetary Fund Knoll* KPMG LLP Lowenstein Sandler PC McKinsey & Company Merck & Co. Microsoft Moody’s Foundation* Morgan Stanley New York Times Company Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. PepsiCo* Pfizer Inc.* Procter & Gamble ProLogis* Schering-Plough Corporation Siemens AG Sodexo Swiss Reinsurance Co. UBS* Unilever plc* UnitedHealth Group United Nations DPKO White & Case LLP* Withers LLP World Bank *Steering Committee © 2009, Center for Work-Life Policy. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or transmission of any part of this publication in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, is prohibited. The analyses and opinions presented in this report are solely those of the authors. Cover Illustration by Dave Calver2 | BOOKEND GENERATIONS
  3. 3. BOOKEND GENERATIONS:LEVERAGING TALENT AND FINDING COMMON GROUND Sylvia Ann Hewlett Maggie Jackson Laura Sherbin Peggy Shiller Eytan Sosnovich Karen SumbergCenter for Work-Life PolicyStudy sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, Ernst & Young, Time Warner, UBS
  4. 4. THEHIDDENDRAIN BRAIN TASK FORCE Founder and President BOOKEND GENERATIONS Sylvia Ann Hewlett advisors and Lead sPonsors Chair Anne Erni Carolyn Buck Luce lehmAn Brothers Co-Chairs Patricia Fili-Krushel Joan Amble time WArner AmericAn express Anthony Carter Mona Lau Johnson & Johnson UBs Deborah A. Elam Lisa M. Quiroz GenerAl electric compAny time WArner Gail Fierstein Horacio D. Rozanski GoldmAn sAchs Booz Allen hAmilton Patricia Fili-Krushel Billie I. Williamson time WArner ernst & yoUnG Kaye Foster-Cheek Johnson & Johnson Rosalind L. Hudnell intel Lisa M. Quiroz time WArner Kerrie Peraino AmericAn express Horacio D. Rozanski Booz Allen hAmilton Cornel West princeton University Billie I. Williamson ernst & yoUnG Melinda B. Wolfe BloomBerG lp
  5. 5. About the AuthorssYLvia ann heWLett is the founding President of the Center for Work-Life Policy (CWLP), whereshe chairs the “Hidden Brain Drain” Task Force. She also directs the Gender and Policy Program at the School ofInternational and Public Affairs, Columbia University and is a member of the World Economic Forum Councilon the Gender Gap. She is the author of nine acclaimed non-fiction books including When the Bough Breaks(winner of a Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Prize), Creating a Life (named by Business Week as one of thetop ten books of 2002), Off-Ramps and On-Ramps (Harvard Business Press), and, most recently, Top Talent: KeepingPerformance Up When Business Is Down (Harvard Business Press, October 2009). She is the author of six HarvardBusiness Review articles and her articles have also appeared in the New York Times, Financial Times and InternationalHerald Tribune. She has taught at Cambridge, Columbia and Princeton universities and held fellowships at theInstitute for Public Policy Research in London and the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at Harvard.A Kennedy Scholar and graduate of Cambridge University, Hewlett earned her PhD degree in economics atLondon University.MaGGie JaCKson is a senior fellow at the Center for Work-Life Policy. An award-winning author and journalistknown for her coverage of U.S. social issues, her book, Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age, wasnamed a best summer book of 2008 by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and has been featured in publications worldwide.Jackson writes the popular “Balancing Acts” column in the Sunday Boston Globe. A contributor to the New York Times,Business Week, and National Public Radio, she is also a former foreign correspondent for The Associated Press inTokyo and London and has won numerous awards and honors for her work, including the Media Award fromthe Work-Life Council of the Conference Board and a journalism fellowship in child and family policy from theUniversity of Maryland. Jackson is a graduate of Yale University and the London School of Economics.Laura sherBin is a vice president at the Center for Work-Life Policy where she heads up CWLP’s surveyresearch. She is an economist specializing in work-life issues and gender. She is also an adjunct professor at theSchool of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University teaching “Women and Globalization.” She iscoauthor of the Harvard Business Review article “How Gen Y and Boomers Will Reshape Your Agenda,” as well asthe Harvard Business Review Research Report The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering,and Technology and The Under-Leveraged Talent Pool: Women Technologists on Wall Street. She is a graduate of theUniversity of Delaware and earned her PhD in economics from American University.PeGGY shiLLer is the executive vice president of the Center for Work-Life Policy. A coauthor of TheHidden Brain Drain: Off-Ramps and On-Ramps in Women’s Careers, Sin Fronteras: Celebrating and Capitalizing onthe Strengths of Latina Executives and The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, andTechnology, she is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College.eYtan sosnoviCh is an assistant vice president at the Center for Work-Life Policy. He is a coauthorof The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology and The Under-LeveragedTalent Pool: Women Technologists on Wall Street. Sosnovich received his BA in political science from theUniversity of Massachusetts at Amherst and is working toward his MIA at the School for International andPublic Affairs at Columbia University.Karen suMBerG is a vice president at the Center for Work-Life Policy and an expert in gender, careerpathing and communications. She has led key research projects for CWLP including “Bookend Generations:Leveraging Talent and Finding Common Ground” and Sin Fronteras: Celebrating and Capitalizing on theStrengths of Latina Executives. She is coauthor of the Harvard Business Review article “How Gen Y andBoomers Will Reshape Your Agenda,” as well as the Harvard Business Review Research Report The AthenaFactor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology and The Under-Leveraged Talent Pool:Women Technologists on Wall Street. Sumberg received her BA from the University of Maryland and isworking toward her MBA at Fordham University. i
  6. 6. Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the study sponsors—Booz Allen Hamilton, Ernst & Young, Lehman Brothers, Time Warner, and UBS—for their generous support. We are deeply grateful to the co-chairs of the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force—Joan Amble, Carolyn Buck Luce, Anthony Carter, Deborah Elam, Gail Fierstein, Patricia Fili-Krushel, Kaye Foster-Cheek, Rosalind Hudnell, Kerrie Peraino, Lisa Quiroz, Horacio Rozanski, Cornel West, Billie Williamson, and Melinda Wolfe—for their vision and commitment. Special thanks to the Hidden Brain Drain “Bookends” advisors and lead sponsors: Anne Erni, Patricia Fili-Krushel, Mona Lau, Lisa Quiroz, Horacio Rozanski, and Billie Williamson. We would also like to thank Kathleen Christensen and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation along with Velma Monteiro-Tribble and the Alcoa Foundation for grants which supported case study research. We appreciate the efforts of the Center for Work-Life Policy staff members, in particular Shelley Haynes for her administrative support, Diana Forster and Ripa Rashid for their research support and editorial talents. We also want to thank Bill McCready, Rick Li and the team at Knowledge Networks who expertly guided the research and were an invaluable resource throughout the course of this study. A special word of thanks goes to Adi Ignatius, editor-in-chief, and Julia Kirby, editor, of Harvard Business Review, whose inspiration and leadership were critical to this project. Thanks to the private sector members of the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force for their practical ideas and collaborative energy: Elaine Aarons, Barbara Adachi, Rohini Anand, Diane Ashley, Asli Basgoz, Denise Berger, Dolores Bernardo, Ann Beynon, Karen Boykin- Towns, Rachel Cheeks-Givan, Ilene Cohn, Desiree Dancy, Nancy Di Dia, Esi Eggleston Bracey, Stephanie Ferguson, Michelle Gadsen-Williams, Valerie Gervais, Paul Graves, Laurie Hodder Greeno, Mary Hildebrand, Nancy Killefer, Frances Laserson, Mona Lau, Jill Lee, Kedibone Letlaka-Rennert, Cindy Martinangelo, Ana Duarte McCarthy, John Morland, Patricia Nazemetz, Annmarie Neal, Judith Nocito, Christine Osvald-Mruz, Julie Oyegun, Erika Ozer, Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi, Bruce Pfau, Kate Quigley, Linda Riefler, Ellen Rome, Lori Sweere, Geri Thomas, Jo Weiss, Joan Wood, Helen Wyatt and Meryl Zausner. Thanks also to Shaheen Akram, Rosie Allen, Rosalind Arlott, Linda Bernstein, Fleur Bothwick, Jennifer Bruno, Serena Cheng, Debbie Cohen, Patricia David, Alicia Dick, Lauren Doliva, Corbette Doyle, Tamara Erickson, Bet Franzone, Marc Freedman, Tim Goodell, Maryella Gockel, Marcia Golibart, Joanne Gordon, Jody Hu, Tim Jarman, Jackie Jones, Priscilla Kauff, Sara Laschever, Melissa Lavigne, Beth McCormick, Jeff Merrifield, Janice Marron, Margaret Quilter, Farrell Redwine, Christiane Ribeiro de Sa, Jim Rotman, Lisa Starzyk, and Yulee Tang.ii | BOOKEND GENERATIONS
  7. 7. ContentsABOUT THE AUTHORS iACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iiABSTRACT 1KEY FACTS 2INTRODUCTION 5PART I: GEN Y 9 Chapter 1 Loyalty vs. Quest 9 Chapter 2 The Connected Tribe 12 Chapter 3 At Ease with Multiculturalism 16 Chapter 4 Choice, Flex and Balance: A Generation’s Demands 18 Chapter 5 Contributing: A Coddled Generation Gives Back 22 Chapter 6 A Space That Works 24 Chapter 7 Rewriting the Inspiration Curve: A Rewards Remix 26PART II: BOOMERS 29 Chapter 8 “Retiring Retirement” 29 Chapter 9 From “Me” to “We”: An Idealistic Generation Gives Back 33 Chapter 10 Generation Squeeze 35 Chapter 11 Tapping Boomer Talent: The Opportunity of a Rewards Remix 38PART III: COMMON GROUND 41 Chapter 13 Shared Values, Common Bonds 41 Chapter 14 Synergies and Interaction 47 iii
  8. 8. PART IV: CUTTING EDGE POLICIES 52 Modularized Work Schedules and Second Acts 52 American Express: Phased Retirement and Retiree Network 52 CVS: Snowbirds 52 E.ON: OneE.ON 53 Harvard: Advanced Leadership Initiative 54 Novartis: PrimeForce 54 Rich Menu of Flex 54 Best Buy: ROWE 54 Citi: Alternative Workplace Strategy 55 City of Houston: Flex in the City 55 Opportunities to Give Back 56 UBS: Investment Bank Graduate Deferral Program 56 Ernst & Young: Corporate Responsibility Fellows Program 57 Goldman Sachs: Community Teamwork 58 Ernst & Young: Partnering with 58 Goldman Sachs: 10,000 Women 59 Pfizer: Global Access 59 “Progressive” Work Environment 60 Bloomberg: Transparency in the Workplace 60 Boehringer Ingelheim: Workplace of the Future 60 Genzyme: Green Office 61 REI: Environmental Consciousness 61 Intergenerational Mentoring Programs 62 Cisco: Legacy Leaders Network 62 GlaxoSmithKline: Early Career Network 62 Heidrick & Struggles: Chief Advisors Network 63 Time Warner: Digital Reverse Mentoring 63 Other Interesting New Programs and Policies 65 Booz Allen Hamilton: 65 Time Warner: People Directory 65 Extended Health Insurance Coverage for Young Adult Dependents 66 METHODOLOGY 67 THE HIDDEN BRAIN DRAIN TASK FORCE 67 ENDNOTES 68iv | BOOKEND GENERATIONS
  9. 9. AbstractRight now, a battle for survival has eclipsed the war for talent. Business leaders are slashing headcounts andbudgets, and focusing with laser vision on what it takes to succeed in a deep global recession. But whenthe economy recovers, companies will return swiftly to the crucial work of recruiting and retaining topperformers. Renewal and growth cannot be rekindled without high-octane brain power.Yet the value proposition is changing dramatically in a new era of talent management. Two dominantdemographic cohorts—Gen Y and Baby Boomers—are redefining what it takes for a company to be an“employer of choice.” The 78 million Boomers and 70 million Gen Ys crave flexibility, personal growth,connection, and opportunities to “give back.” The Bookend Generations are remapping old ideals of successas they pursue a “Rewards Remix” that prizes meaning and choice over money.What do the Bookend Generations want? Here are the top picks:• Ys and Boomers crave Odysseys. They are highly loyal yet see their careers as fluid journeys, suffused with flexibility by day and over the long term. For these adventurers, a career is a lifelong Odyssey, often punctuated by short time-outs, or mini-odysseys to explore passion and altruism.• Ys and Boomers are shifting from Me to We. Vested in healing the planet and improving the lot of humankind, they want some of this “give back” to happen on company time.• Ys and Boomers value work-life balance and prioritize Flexibility and Remote Work. They are shedding Industrial Age conceptions of work and demanding control over when, where and how work gets done.A key finding: The Bookend generations seek a radical Rewards Remix. Gen Ys and Boomers wantemployers to deliver on an important set of non-monetary rewards. Opportunities to take a short sabbatical,to give back to the community through work, or to engage in stimulating, challenging projects, oftencan trump the size of the Boomer or Gen Y paycheck. Our most recent data (January 2009) shows risingjob insecurity and financial pressures, yet a continued strong desire for newer rewards from odysseys toaltruistic work.This shift in the core values of a sizable proportion of the workforce is both challenging and liberatingfor employers. Companies now must begin tackling the difficult task of creating more complex, holisticincentive structures. They must decipher how to use time as currency, blend perks such as sabbaticals intonorms of career-planning, and realize the value of a green workplace as a retention tool. Such work is noteasy. But the good news is that these motivators are far less costly than raises and bonuses at a time ofshrinking budgets.Best Practices: Finally, this report details cutting-edge best practices—twenty-five new company initiativesthat take steps toward offering a needed Rewards Remix. Best and “next” practices, ranging from Houston’s“Flex in the City” program to Ernst & Young’s “Corporate Responsibility Fellowships,” show how progressiveemployers are responding to a sea-change in employee attitudes. 1
  10. 10. Gen Y Common Ground Strong Talent Pool SHARED VALUES, • 84% see themselves as very ambitious. COMMON BONDS • 86% are willing to go extra mile for company success. Odyssey vs. Loyalty • There are interesting differences. 92% of Asian Ys see themselves as very ambitious, but only 77% of African-American Ys say the same. • 92% of Gen Ys and 85% of Boomers desire a range of new experiences.Key Facts • 47% of Ys and 34% of Boomers Loyalty vs. Quest say that it is important that the • 89% see themselves as loyal to their current employer. company they work for offer • 92% desire a range of new experiences. “mini odysseys” by establishing sabbatical leaves. • Asian Boomers value sabbatical The Connected Tech-Savvy Tribe leaves more than Caucasians (79% • 86% want to work in teams. 98% value collaborative opportunities vs. 35%). In the Y population, more working with peers. Hispanics (89%) and Asians (78%) • 88% are comfortable with state-of-the-art communication technology. Despite than Caucasians (45%) say that this, nearly half prefer in-person communication over virtual communication. sabbaticals are important. • Communication preferences vary. Hispanic Ys prefer email over in-person (51% vs. 36%) while African-American Ys prefer in-person over email (52% vs. 35%). Giving Back and Doing Good Multicultural Ease • 34% of Ys and 47% of Boomers regularly volunteer. Amongst • 78% are comfortable working with people of different ethnicities and cultures. multicultural Boomers volunteer • 75% are at ease with differences in sexual orientation. rates are similar, but there are differences in the Y population. African-American Ys are more likely Flex and Balance to volunteer than their Caucasian, Hispanic or Asian peers. • 89% want flex and stress its importance. • 69% seek remote work options—though more than half only want to work from home one day a week. Modularized Work • 89% of Ys and 87% of Boomers Healing the Planet say flex work arrangements are • 88% of Y women and 82% of Y men believe it’s important to be able to important to them. give back to community through work. There are interesting differences. • 83% of Ys and 75% of Boomers are 98% of African-American Ys but only 83% of Caucasian Ys view motivated by the ability to work give back through work as important. remotely. • Gen Ys who have volunteer opportunities available to them at work are 53% less likely to say they are considering leaving their job in the next year. Rewards Remix Trendy Collaborative Workspaces • For both Boomers and Ys, five • 84% think it is important to have a well-designed communal workspace— rewards (high quality colleagues, complete with cutting edge tech, great food and natural light. flexible work arrangements, recognition • 89% also want a desk or private space of their own. from company/boss, access to new experiences, and the ability to give back to society through work) rank equal Going Global to or higher than compensation. • 94% of Gen Ys in China love their work and 97% are loyal to their current • Ys value flex more than Boomers, company (compare with 79% in the UK and 79% in the U.S. who love their work and Boomers value autonomy in and 83% in the UK and 88% in the U.S. who are loyal to their company). what they work on more than Ys. • 40% of Chinese Ys receive money from their parents and 38% live with their parents (in the UK those numbers are 10% and 2% respectively). • 86% of Ys in UK like working with Boomers. (Only 79% of Ys in China say the same). 2
  11. 11. Baby BoomersSYNERGIES AND Retiring RetirementINTERACTION • Boomers are delaying retirement by nine years (Jan. ’09 data)Velcro Relationships up from five years (June ’08 data). • 43% project they will work after the age of 65.• 42% of Gen Y women and 29% of • 30% of those extending retirement say that they didn’t Gen Y men report that they talk to invest or save enough for retirement. their parents on a daily basis.• 74% of Y women have working Moms and can turn to their mothers for Looking for Progression professional advice (Only 56% of Boomers had working moms). • 47% see themselves in the middle of their careers.• 77% of African-American Boomers had (Remember the median age of Boomers is 54.) a mother who worked. Only 54% of • 68% feel they have a long enough “runway” to realistically Caucasian Boomers say the same. aspire to one promotion before retiring.• 62% of Y women don’t want to • Career aspirations vary—they reflect life expectancy— emulate their mother’s work 75% of Asian Boomers, but only 43% of African-American choices—when work involves a long- Boomers want to stay in their job for five years or more. hour extreme job. They see them as working too hard and not achieving work-life balance. Recognition • 81% say that recognition is a powerful motivator. • Boomer women value recognition more thanWorkplace Connections their male counterparts (87% vs. 74%).• 64% of Gen Ys and 68% of Boomers recognize a parent/child dynamic in relationships between Ys and From “Me” to “We” Boomers in the workplace. • 47% of Boomers volunteer, putting in an average of• 58% of Boomers enjoy helping Gen Y 10 hours a month. navigate the workplace and 58% of • 85% want employers to get involved and are looking Ys report that they look to Boomers for opportunities to “give back” through work. for professional advice more so than any other generation.• There is huge potential for Boomers Flex and Remote Work to learn from Ys since 88% see Ys as tech savvy. • 87% list flex work options as important. • 75% say the freedom to choose when and where they want to work motivates them to give 110%. Generation Squeeze • 71% shoulder significant eldercare responsibilities. Interestingly, these duties are evenly shared between men and women. • 41% contribute financial support to a young adult child (over 22). This cash subsidy averages $471 a month. African-American Boomers are more likely to contribute support than their Caucasian counterparts. KEY FACTS | 3
  13. 13. IntroductionPicture the year 2024.T he youngest of the Boomers are turning 64, yet this collective chronological milestone is no longer synonymous with quitting work. Even the word “retirement” isn’t used much anymore, because although the huge cohort of 78 million Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 is older, they are very much a vibrant part of the newly flexible and fluid twenty-first century work world. Idealistic, innovative, and driven, the hugely influential Boomer set has, through will and sheer demographic clout, managedto retire the concept of doing little but leisure in later life. Ever the jugglers, they balance challenging caregivingexperiences with meaningful, flex work and a huge appetite for lifelong learning.The often-boring “golden years” have become a blip in history, much as 1950s homemaking proved to be an aberrationin a long history of women’s commitment to paid work. In 1996, Boomers, on average, defined old age as beginningat 79.5—more than three years past the then-typical life span.1 Wishful thinking perhaps, yet also a true reflectionof the Boomer attitude toward life. “Boomers think they will die before they get old,” noted Yankelovich pollster J.Walker Smith. “Aging with a spirit of youthfulness is the new context of their lives.”2 Above all, the Boomers arerefusing to take a back seat in society as they age.Fully sharing the stage with the Boomers in 2024 is the equally idealistic, innovative and enormous cohort dubbedGeneration Y, a population wave of 70 million currently ages 15 to 30. They are hard-working, and many are farmore apt to be corporate loyalists than they seemed at the start of their collective careers two decades ago. They arefamily-oriented, and remain remarkably close to—some say dependent on—the aging Boomer parents who raisedthem. But don’t call them the “New Traditionalists.” Just as the Boomers roundly rewrote the scope and meaning oflater life, so Gen Y in a few decades has redefined past notions of young adulthood.Self-directed and tech savvy, they are restless learners and workers who have largely redefined the concept of “payingdues.” Even more than many young businesspeople, Gen Y is known for craving the new and needing constantchallenges. They have essentially moved past the divisions between home and work and between the sexes that theBoomers first fought so hard to close. In many ways, the maturing Gen Y are completing a story that the Boomersbegan telling sixty-odd years earlier.Boomers and Gen Y. These are the “Bookend” are long lasting, while still maintaining a stronggenerations, the landmark cohorts on either side sense of fluidity and versatility. Strikingly, ourof the smaller, 46 million strong Generation X. national survey reveals that 44 percent of BoomersTogether, they make up 148 million people, or nearly and Gen Y alike prize family life in equal proportionhalf of the U.S. population. While clearly distinct to work. Only 14 percent of Boomers and Gen Yfrom one another and sometimes antithetical in consider themselves work-centric. Both cohortstheir views, Boomers and Gen Y nonetheless share are made up of a substantial proportion of peopleremarkably similar perspectives and desires in terms endeavoring to “have it all.”of work and life. With far more career choice andaccess to information than in any past era, the Above all, both generations are redefining later lifeBookend generations are making “self-invention” as well as early adulthood as stages of exploration,central to their lives. Faced with longer life spans the odyssey years, as columnist David Brooks andand increasingly complex family dynamics, these demographer Tamara Erickson first observed.3two cohorts are endeavoring to make careers that Effectively, they are bookending their own 5
  14. 14. adulthoods with periods of exploration, transition, issues focuses far too often on gaps, clashes and experimentation. These new periods of life will differences. It’s essential to also probe the common be “characterized by a spirit of invention, a search ground between demographic cohorts, especially for meaning, a sense of choice and an insistence two of the most talked about and misunderstood on controlling one’s time,” notes Erickson.4 Even generations in history—the Boomers and Gen Y. the word “odyssey” is a relatively new nineteenth Consider that nearly as many Boomers as Gen Y, century linguistic invention, inspired by the tale of desire to work remotely (63% vs. 69% respectively). Odysseus, the cunning Greek soldier who spent an And our research shows that 45 percent of Gen Y say adventurous late life decade journeying home to they’re likely to work for their current employer for Ithaca after the battle of Troy. Other generations, their entire career. In other words, many Boomers from Gen X to the Silent Generation (those born are not the stodgy workhorses they are stereotyped between 1925-1945), continue to make their mark to be, while Gen Y don’t yearn to job hop. These today on the workplace and society. But together, cohorts’ complementary tastes and desires will the vast and complementary Bookend generations shape workplaces, value systems, careers, work-life are leading the way in sweeping away the last juggling and social relationships throughout the remaining Industrial Age ideals of rigid hierarchies coming century. and inflexible work. Second, it’s crucial to understand the two generations Why study the Bookends now? In 2008, the Center that make up the lion’s share of the country’s talent for Work-Life Policy (CWLP) embarked on the most pool during an era threatened by potentially serious comprehensive comparative research ever undertaken labor shortages. Due to a rising need for highly skilled on the Bookend generations. Through interactive workers and a declining proportion of U.S. youth blogs, focus groups, surveys and in-depth interviews, obtaining college degrees, the United States could we probed the motivators, characteristics and goals of face a shortage of 6 million college grads by 2012, the these cohorts for more than a year. The findings are Employment Policy Foundation projects.5 The highly exciting, compelling, often surprising—and especially educated, aging Boomer generation wants to keep timely. Why? As noted, the Bookends are unusually working, but not flat out. Gen Y prizes an integrated large, intriguingly synergistic demographic cohorts life marked by continual change, within or outside the whose influence on the world far exceeds the sum workplace. To remedy skill shortages bred by smaller of their parts. But a close look at these generations is and potentially less educated demographic cohorts imperative for employers today for other reasons. moving up the pipeline, employers must understand how to attract and retain the behemoth Bookend First, four generations now co-inhabit the American populations and tap their synergies over the long term. labor force, and yet public discussion of generational WHAT ABOUT GEN X? In our early focus group research we discovered that Gen X is different. In many respects this smaller generation, now in the prime of life (ages 31-44), remains grounded in a conventional or traditional value proposition. In our survey research we found that Xers are more likely than Boomers to value compensation and less likely than Ys to want an odyssey. And it’s easy to understand why. The 31-44 year-old set have young families to look after and extreme jobs to hold down (see “Extreme Jobs,” Harvard Business Review, December 2006). They simply don’t have the time or capacity to question the value proposition, at least not right now. One thing we did find in our focus group research is that Xers see sabbaticals and opportunities to heal the planet as something they will want down the road. And savvy employers understand this. The company initiatives showcased in this report are a retention tool for Gen X as well as for Boomers and Gen Y. But for them it is an expectational calculus, not one grounded in the present tense.6 | BOOKEND GENERATIONS
  15. 15. Perhaps most importantly, employers in the know WHAT IS A GENERATIONcan find in the Bookend generations an extraordinaryopportunity during a time of serious economic recession: What is a generation? A generation is ameaning, as much as money, is a potent driver for both cohort of people “who grew up and cameBookend cohorts. Indeed, Gen Y rates recognition,flexibility and access to new experiences equal to or of age together,” experiencing sharedhigher than compensation. More than a third of older formative events of their life course thatworkers, meanwhile, define retirement as a time for create a “generational character,” accordingexploring passions. Our research shows nearly half ofeach cohort characterizes “giving back to the community to Yankelovich pollsters J. Walker Smith andthrough their work” as very important. This means that Ann Clurman.7 Typically, a new generationmillions of skilled workers today seek a crucial “rewards is formed roughly once every two decades.8remix” that can save employers needed operating costswhile boosting productivity, engagement and innovation. This doesn’t mean that members of a generation are uniform; not all BoomersA note on the data and the impact of the recession: our are ex-hippies, nor are Gen Ys alwaysfirst national survey went into the field mid-2008.i InJanuary of 2009 we went back into the field to make tech-savvy. Within each generation, theresure that the road map we created was still on course. is a great diversity of thought and action.We needed to make sure that the complex values and As well, it’s important to note that theexpansive aspirations had not shifted drastically. Thegood news for the research team was that the broad character of a generation shifts over timefindings still remain true. Job security has become as the cohort ages and experiences newa new part of the important aspects of work, but events. With their experiences of longboth cohorts stayed true to the values and ideals theyreported in 2008. life and extensive prosperity, Boomers are bringing to late life a whole new set of expectations and attitudes, compared withA VISION the Silent Generation.By 2024, we’ll inhabit a new world of work and lifeshaped deeply by the Bookend generations. Flatter,more fluid organizations will learn to prize the ideas Still, however diverse and evolving, aof less experienced younger generations and vastly generation is a “distinctive mix” of people,experienced mature workers, cohorts that in the as Smith and Clurman note. As such, “thepast were simplistically expected to fade in and fadeout of their careers. Knowledge will be highly cross- character of a generation sets the tonefertilized. The downside may be shortened learning for what it’s like to live and work in thosecurves for all. times,” they write. Boomers affect ourBy 2024, work itself will likely be more porous and fluid. world for as long as they live in differentInspired by the achievements of pioneering “off-ramping ways than Gen Ys will. And all generations’and on-ramping” Boomer women, both men and women synergies, in turn, shape our work andwill treat working by degrees and within a more variedcontractual framework as normal.6 Both genders will home lives in intriguing and sometimesdefine themselves by their breadth of current experiences, mysterious ways.rather than by title or organizational seniority. Life willbecome more collegial.Led by the Bookend cohorts, our collective odysseytoward this new, volatile, innovative world hasjust begun.i See methodology. 7
  17. 17. 1Part I: Gen YLoyalty vs. QuestA fter more than six years at Booz Allen Hamilton, Mike Grace came to a crossroads. He joined the firm as a software developer after graduating from college, just as Booz Allen was expanding in the field of business intelligence. The opportunity, he says, was “the best thing that ever happened to me.” With constant support and opportunities for career growth, Grace thrived in his first years with the company. “I was taught all different parts of the business, often aspects that were above my level or were not directly tiedto my job,” he recalls. “The company really takes care of you.” When a headhunter called one day with a tantalizingoffer at a software company, he was torn. Loyal to Booz Allen yet ready for a new challenge, Grace took the job.He was back in little more than a year, disillusioned by a corporate merger that squeezed the fun, start-up feel out ofthe software firm and thankful to be welcomed back by a former mentor to a job that challenged him. “At Booz, I feellike I can do anything,” says Grace. “For me, a place to work is about opportunity. Places that talk about training anddevelopment and then actually do it are where I want to be.”Contrary to the popular belief and media hype that five years or more—a full 78 percent report beingGen Ys are the preeminent job hoppers, “free agents satisfied with their jobs. As figure 1.1 shows, Genwho can bounce from one job to the next anytime Y is engaged, ambitious and loyal. The figures forthey choose,” Gen Ys are loyal.9 A full 45 percent of multicultural talent reveal an interesting story; 92Gen Y workers (43% of Y women and 48% Y men) percent of Asian Ys see themselves as ambitiousenvision staying with their current employer for while only 77 percent of African-American Ys saytheir entire career and nearly 90 percent of Gen the same. Similarly, 94 percent of Asians and onlyYs describe themselves as “loyal” to their current 78 percent of Hispanics say they are loyal to theiremployer. Similarly, more than a third of Gen Y current employer.workers envision staying in their current positions Yet, at the same time, a desire for new experiencesFigure 1.1: is foremost for Gen Ys. In other words, they haveEngaged, Ambitious and Loyal dueling desires—wanting to remain with their company while satisfying their need to explore and learn. Ninety percent of Y women and 97 percent 89% 86% of Y men are looking for a range of new experiences 84% (see figure 1.2). An Aspen Institute survey of 1,700 79% MBA students—a majority of whom are members of the Gen Y cohort—found that more than 60 percent rated “challenging and diverse job opportunities” as their top factor in job selection. As one young worker shared on a Bookends blog,ii “Being in a comfortable state where everything is on cruise control isn’t so appealing.” Content, not form, is so important that a mere 20 percent of Gen Ys report I love my work I see myself I am willing I am loyal that having a powerful position with a prestigious as very to go the extra to my current job title is very important. Compare this with the ambitious mile for company 72 percent who crave work that is intellectually company success challenging and stimulating. ii See methodology. PART I: GEN Y | 9
  18. 18. Figure 1.2: What drew Nina to her current company was a Loyalty and Experience graduate training program that allows new hires to rotate through seven different areas of the firm in 97% their first year with the company, gaining invaluable 92% experience and exposure to senior management. 87% 90% Since then, Nina has had three jobs within the same group. “There have been a lot of opportunities to do different things—that’s kept me here,” she reflects. “Many of my friends have jumped around to different firms in search of the right fit.” Through the rotational training and opportunities to pursue varied work, Nina has been continually challenged, while enjoying job stability. Learning and growing are paramount for all workers, or they will disengage on the job, Julie Gebauer and Don Lowman show in Closing the Loyal to current employer Desires a range of new experiences Engagement Gap: How Great Companies Unlock Employee Potential for Superior Results. Career Women Men advancement, challenging work and opportunities for improving skills and capabilities are three of the most crucial drivers of employee engagement, the state of being connected and committed to Although nearly two-thirds of Gen Ys have only work, the Towers Perrin consultants found after worked at one or two companies, some Ys still have studying thousands of employees around the globe. not found the right fit. The desire for new experiences Job rotation, a tolerance for mistakes, learning can account for why Gen Ys leave. It is often in direct aligned with business goals, real world problem conflict with their strong sense of loyalty and the solving, and varied training approaches: these are dismantling of old models of lifetime employment crucial ways of fostering an engaging environment, they witnessed during their formative years. Forty Gebauer and Lowman explain.10 As a generation, percent of Boomers, the Ys parents, have only been Gen Y is entering a workforce increasingly thirsty with their current company for five or fewer years. for such opportunities. But, like Nina, they are now Both economic downsizings and a higher expectation faced with a churning job market. In our follow-up of choice have shattered the job security experienced Bookends survey, in January 2009, meant to capture by generations past. It’s no wonder that people perceive the shifts and new realities of the current economic Ys as job hoppers when new prospects beckon.Consider, climate, job security is at the top of the list for most too, that job switching is somewhat correlated with age. Ys. Seventy-five percent of Ys said this was a very Many younger workers, regardless of generation, important aspect of their job. There was a marked are more prone to change employers as they build difference between how men and women rated job their careers. security, as figure 1.3 shows. Job security and varied challenges at work—those are the twin motivators of Nina, a German ex-pat who was in her seventh year with a financial services company when she participated in a Bookends focus group. When she began looking for a job after graduation in 2002, security was a paramount consideration. It was a down labor market, “a time where I saw people losing their jobs or having their offers rescinded.”10 | BOOKEND GENERATIONS
  19. 19. Figure 1.3: A new, fluid professional milieu marked by selfJob Security is Very Important direction, a time of life marked by experimentation —these are key reasons why Gen Ys are impatient for new challenges and opportunities to learn at 82% work, even as they seek job security. They are risk takers who enjoy operating outside the boundaries of their past experience. Nearly three-quarters of Ys reported feeling comfortable taking risks at work, 66% and 61 percent feel that they can make mistakes safely. Are they sometimes overconfident? Perhaps at times, yet the willingness to take risks is a quality that should be nurtured by employers, especially during times of economic crisis, when fear and insecurity can lead to paralysis and rigidity. Figure 1.4: Women Men Risk Taking and Safety NetsThe Ys are also endeavoring to make their way ina professional world that’s more self-directed and 81%less hierarchical. In short, today’s workers need tobe perpetual “can do” learners in order to manage 68% 67%the myriad choices and responsibilities thrust uponthem. “Throughout history, the great majority of 58%people never had to ask the question, ‘what shouldI contribute?’,” writes Peter Drucker. “It was takenfor granted that most people were subordinateswho did as they were told.” Now, choice is plentiful,expertise eclipses authority built on titles and status,and, asserts Drucker, knowledge workers must be Comfortable taking risks Feel there is a safety net“their own chief executive officers.”11 in case of failureThis is why Erin, a new consultant at Booz Allen Women MenHamilton, values being part of a cross-functional,matrix-built team. “I’m able to learn about more In sum, loyalty is not a foreign concept to Genprojects than my own,” she says. “My theory is, Y. Many in the cohort would like to stay with anthe more people and projects you know of or are employer while learning, being challenged andaware of, the better.” Or why Marina, a recruiter, groomed to take risks. That sounds simple, butmajored in psychology at college although she had it’s not for either side in the employee-employerno intention of entering the field. She strategically equation. Especially in difficult economic times,chose a course of study that was both multi- the Gen Y’s deep-seated desire for job security maydisciplinary and one she saw as a stepping stone to conflict with their intense yearning for change, asalmost any career. With a psychology degree, “any Mike Grace experienced. Further, the dark mood,job was open for me,” she explains. To survive, Gen burgeoning workloads and “command and control”Ys know they must adapt to a demanding world. managerial methods common in crisis-hit firms may frustrate younger workers who yearn for novelty and freedom, notes the The Economist.12 Still, the reality is that Gen Y isn’t addicted to job hopping, so employers that make a creative and committed effort to grow, nurture and engage Gen Y talent can keep this younger generation productive, motivated—and loyal. PART I: GEN Y | 11
  20. 20. 2 The Connected Tribe D erek and Jorge were excited to land jobs as associates at a telecommunications company right after college. But after starting work, they felt something was missing. While MBA recruits had a leadership program that bonded them as a “class,” the associates had no formal way to connect with other new analysts at work. The absence of a formal network was especially noticeable to Derek and Jorge because they’d both been part of a close-knit group of summer interns during college. “We wanted a team of analysts, a team of peers,” said Jorge. Added Derek, “Unless you know people through an internship, it’s hard to find people your own age at the company.” Then they discovered “Associo,” an inactive three-year-old grassroots network for analysts. Tapped to join Associo’s steering committee, the two friends and other new analysts set to work revitalizing the group. They held a happy hour, a workshop on Excel, lunches with firm directors, and even struck a partnership with human resources—a rarity for an informal network—to host events for summer interns. As a result, Jorge and Derek have made invaluable peer contacts throughout the firm, including one who helped Jorge apply for a new position internally. Said Derek: “The culture here doesn’t always place a value on networking with your peers. I see that as vital to enjoying and getting ahead at work. I crave being around people who share my experiences.” Collaboration is a driving force in the twenty-first data management company EMC that show that century workplace, and an enormous priority for employees’ engagement is significantly affected by Gen Y. This cohort likes to connect across boundaries, the levels of enjoyment and cooperation they get departments and disciplines socially, as readily as in working with others. When work is increasingly they pursue learning across all spheres. Teaming, decentralized, flattened, time-consuming and networking and plain old social connections, both fast changing, connections become all the more virtual and face-to-face, are valued components of important. “By yourself, you can only accomplish so working life for Ys. That’s why 82 percent of Gen Y much,” says EMC chief executive officer Joe Tucci.13 describes having colleagues they enjoy working with as a very important aspect of their work environment, Gen Y agree, with many fervantly supporting the compared with 77 percent of Boomers. Nearly half of team-based work model that dominates businesses Ys consider having a network of friends at work very today. Eighty-six percent of Ys in our survey want important, compared with 36 percent of Boomers. In to work in teams—at least part of the time, as addition, 84 percent of Ys say that having communal figure 2.1 illustrates. areas for collaboration is an integral part of their work environment. Figure 2.1: Preference for Time Spent Working in Teams Friends? Enjoyable colleagues? These elements of work, while always of some importance, may seem frivolous or at least not a bottom-line consideration 55% to many corporate leaders, especially in dire economic times. But creating a sense of belonging, within and beyond the teamwork that’s central to business operations today, is crucial. “Without the sense of community that comes from interacting with your peers, it is tougher to be involved in 25% your organization’s operations, and tougher to feel engaged,” argue Gebauer and Lowman. They 14% 7% cite internal surveys at Massachusetts-based None A quarter Half All12 | BOOKEND GENERATIONS
  21. 21. “I love being around others,” explained Jorge, the softball, basketball and football with co-workers intelecommunications associate we spoke about his division. “I’ve not only made good friends, butearlier. “It would be hard to develop skills and the teams make my job easier,” he reflected. “Pickinglearn things if I was working on my own. If I up the phone and saying, ‘Do you know this person?didn’t have a team, I think the quality of my work How can I get this resource or this information?’would not be as strong.” Short-term, project-based is much easier.” When Jaclyn, a tax auditor, faced ateams are especially inviting for this cohort, as tight deadline to get a broker-dealer’s documentsthey answer Gen Y’s thirst for novelty. When one to the Securities and Exchange Commission, sheconsultant estimated a several million dollar price harnessed the power of her network. “I figuredtag to build a new portal for electronics retailer out who I knew in CSG (the Consulting ServicesBest Buy, young employees pulled together a Group) who could help me,” said Jaclyn, co-headsmall team of their own contacts from across the of her firm’s lesbian, gay, transgender group. She’scompany to do the job for $250,000.14 also active in the company’s Professional Women’s Network, which hosts a program to link seniorYs in our survey told us what makes teamwork work managers with female executive clients. The—it’s all about people and collaboration. Figure 2.2 evenings can be “socially uncomfortable,” admittedshows that Ys rate collaboration with peers and with Jaclyn, “but at the end of the day you just met 20senior colleagues as the most crucial aspects of a extra people.”well-functioning and efficient team. Figure 2.3:Figure 2.2: Networking by GenderImportant Aspects of a Good Team 66% 65% 93% 89% 31% 65% 28% Participate in Participate in internal networks external networks Collaboration Collaboration Bonding Women Men with peers with senior activities colleagures Good teamwork and astute networking, of course, are not new. Smart, ambitious, talented people haveMany Gen Ys are enthusiastic networkers, realizing always been influential “connectors,” as Malcolmthat proactive, reciprocal connectivity are starting Gladwell notes in The Tipping Point.15 But as apoints for good teamwork and cross-departmental whole, Gen Y seems to be helping push large scalecollaboration. Jamal landed his current job in networking into the mainstream of work-life. Thepart because he sat on a non-profit board with an idea of deliberately trying to get ahead throughemployee from the company he wanted to work at networking at artificial events seems “calculating” towho introduced him to the right people. “On paper the Ys we spoke with. They are looking to networkyou can be qualified, but you need to find someone and collaborate in a more organic way—a waywho can navigate from inside,” said Jamal. “You facilitated by new technologies. Through instantneed to meet people who have information. If you and text messaging, Twitter, blogging and onlinekeep up connections, you’ll always find that useful social networking, younger generations have eagerlyinformation comes up in random ways.” pursued high-tech social stages as places to meet and connect. Although specific sites and technologiesJob hunting leverage, internal help on a crunch will rise and fall in popularity, Gen Y’s penchantproject, information on a company’s “invisible” for asynchronous, virtual, and highly diffused socialculture and operations: networking helps Gen Y networking may have a powerful effect onacross multiple fronts. Dan, a financial analyst, plays PART I: GEN Y | 13
  22. 22. GEN Y MULTICULTURAL COMMUNICATION The Gen Y proclivity for using online social networking vehicles is emblematic of this generation’s tech savvy. From social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, to digital communication tools like email, texting and instant messaging, technology provides no end to the number of options for impersonal communication that Gen Ys utilize. Yet, this comfort with digital networking tools belies their preference for face-to-face interactions within the workplace. Our research tells us that a surprising number of Ys actually like the physical and personal interaction that comes with a face-to-face conversation or meeting. When asked, nearly half of Gen Ys we surveyed indicated that they preferred in-person conversations to email, phone or text messaging communication. Breakdowns along race and gender lines also reveal interesting patterns of preferences. African-American and Caucasian Gen Ys prefer face-to face-conversation with 52 percent and 50 percent, respectively, compared to their Hispanic (36%) and Asian (30%) colleagues. Figure 2.4: Communication Preferences 55% 52% 51% 50% 39% 36% 35% 30% In-person conversation Email Caucasian Asian African-American Hispanic Not surprisingly, the numbers are reversed when we look at those who prefer email communication: Asians opt for this by 55 percent, compared with 51 percent of Hispanics, 39 percent of Caucasians and 35 percent of African-Americans. Along gender lines, the data are more varied yet still show specific patterns of preference. For instance, a majority of Hispanic men (69%) enjoy communicating via email, as do a majority of Asian men report the same.14 | BOOKEND GENERATIONS
  23. 23. workplace communications. A full 64 percent of Figure 2.6:Gen Ys are on social networking websites such as Communication PreferencesFacebook and MySpace and nearly a quarter useprofessional websites like LinkedIn (see figure 2.5). 63%Figure 2.5:Networking Online by Generation 48% 41% 64% 27% 5% 9% 24% In-person Email Phone 20% 20% conversation Gen Y Boomers Participate in Participate in internal networks external networks In sum, Gen Y’s fluency with networking, Gen Y Boomers collaboration and digital connections complement twenty-first century corporate operations that are built on teamwork carried out by dispersed talent.And yet, the average Gen Y worker isn’t all Gen Y strive to belong and to feel connected,digital all the time socially. Asked to rank their sometimes to the detriment of their ability tocommunication preferences, nearly half of Ys chose work independently. According to the Intelligenceface-to-face conversations over email, phone, text Group’s “Y Work” research, 62 percent of Ys saymessaging or instant messaging. A separate study it is important that their boss give them regular,found that two-thirds of the “wired generation” on-going feedback. Thirty-two percent of Ys wantprefer in-person conversations with co-workers that feedback quarterly.17 At the same time, theyto other types of communications.16 In Bookends sometimes struggle to balance their propensityfocus groups and interviews, some Gen Ys spoke for lightning-fast digital communications with apassionately about the superiority of real time, yearning for high-touch, human interaction. Gen Yhuman interactions in certain situations. “For big is a connected tribe, yet particularly in a challengingannouncements, nothing is better than a face-to- economic climate, these complex connectionsface meeting or conversation,” asserted Risa, an take considered, careful management—by theirMBA at a financial services company. “I hate not employers and themselves.being able to ask follow-up questions.” Ari, a salesassociate, expressed disappointment that in an ageof instant messaging, few people now wander acrossthe office to have a quick chat. “If I have a questionfor a work colleague, I’ll walk over and ask her,”said Ari. “If nothing else, it gives me a chance tostretch my legs.” Undoubtedly Gen Y’s technologicalpreferences and habits vary along a wide spectrum.Yet many still highly value the human touch, andsee a place for real time contact in an often facelessworld (see figure 2.6). PART I: GEN Y | 15
  24. 24. At Ease with Multiculturalism 3 D “ iversity helps to make people more comfortable with each other,” observes Taryn, a Trinidadian graduate student who has worked in offices that are both richly inclusive and uncomfortably ignorant of multicultural issues. “In places where racial and ethnic diversity is not common, employees may have too narrow a perspective.” She contrasts two of her recent employers. At one, senior staff was not always culturally savvy in dealing with clients. “It led to awkwardness,” notes Taryn. “If you were a minority or had been exposed to a more integrated workplace or life, you would just be more aware.” At a second job, the organization was highly diverse and open discussions about differences were encouraged. “I always left the conversations feeling that my awareness had been expanded in a new way,” says Taryn, recalling one informal staff debate that followed the visit of a Caucasian woman wearing cornrows. “That spawned a whole discussion on cultural appropriation,” she remembers. “An Indian colleague expressed that she would be offended if a person from another ethnicity came wearing a sari. That thought never occurred to me. It was an interesting discussion, to say the least.” Diversity is a crucial challenge and opportunity world, surmises Columbia law professor Cynthia for all employers today. Minorities now make up Estlund in Working Together: How Workplace Bonds roughly one-third of the U.S. population and are Strengthen a Diverse Democracy. “It is widely recognized expected to become the majority in 2042. By 2023, that sustained cooperative interaction across group more than half of all children will be minorities.18 lines tends to produce more positive intergroup People of different sexual orientations, age groups, relations and attitudes,” she writes.22 and cultural backgrounds will continue to diversify both society and the labor force. “In simplest terms, Generation Y has much to offer a diversifying diversity is variety—different ethnicities, races workplace. This cohort isn’t simply diverse, it’s and genders represented within a workforce at comfortable with diversity. About three-quarters every level, from the mailroom to the boardroom,” of Bookends participants from all generations observe Wharton Business School researchers. By described Gen Y as “very comfortable” working 2000, three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies had with people of different ethnicities, cultures and established diversity programs.19 sexual orientations (see figure 3.1). In contrast, only a quarter of those surveyed perceived But companies are also learning that true diversity Boomers as having that degree of comfort is not simply a numbers game. Recruiting and hiring working with different ethnicities and cultures, people from diverse backgrounds is simply the first and only 17 percent saw the older generation as step in creating a truly tolerant workplace where a very comfortable with workmates of another spectrum of ideas is tapped and nurtured in alignment sexual orientation. In fact, 75 percent of Ys listed with an organization’s goals. When handled well, diversity—whether it be working with someone of a diversity can help expand an employee’s skill base, different gender, ethnic or sexual orientation—as an improve the workplace environment and create important aspect of a good team. bridges to the consumer market.20 Multicultural and gender-inclusive teams are correlated with more experimentation and better business solutions.21 If successful, the benefits derived from corporate diversity efforts can even radiate beyond the work16 | BOOKEND GENERATIONS
  25. 25. Figure 3.1: Ys emerged, U.S. immigration rates reversed aPerceived Comfort Level Working with… half century decline. Between 1970 and 2003, the percentage of immigrants in the U.S. population increased from five percent to 12 percent. At the 78% same time, newcomers began settling beyond the 75% traditional “gateway” states of California, Florida, and New York and into regions across the country.23 Ys take for granted that they know what Diwali is or that the Greek church has a different Easter than other Christian denominations. At school, they 27% were the first to learn about Kwanzaa en masse, 17% and to celebrate a multiplicity of cultural holidays, People of different People of different instead of just Christmas and Easter. During Gen Y’s ethnicities and cultures sexual orientations childhood, Spanish trumped French in the foreign language classroom, and Mandarin began to take off Gen Y Boomers in popularity.24 Curries, baklava and tofu hit school cafeterias and supper tables. As they grew older, cheap air travel and the rise of distance-shatteringJames, a media planner for a retail apparel maker, technologies inspired the cohort to explore the globe.has experienced generational differences in relation Over the past decade, the number of U.S. studentsto diversity at his workplace. He came to New York studying abroad has increased by over 150 percent.25seeking a place where he could be accepted as agay man after growing up in a small, blue-collar At the same time, issues related to sexual orientationTexas town where he never felt comfortable being moved into the public consciousness. Gay rights“out.” One boy who had come out in James’ high exploded into the headlines with the Stonewall Barschool was so brutally hazed that he withdrew from uprising of 1969, but became a mainstream topicschool. But even now, working in a world fashion with the subsequent AIDS epidemic. News storiescapital, James finds occasional instances of bias and on the disease gave audiences insight into theintolerance from older co-workers. everyday lives of gays that were previously withheld from popular view. Subsequent television shows,“I think people my age or younger are well-educated such as Will and Grace and Ellen, further dispelledabout gays. They don’t ask a lot of questions. It is stereotypes. As a result, there are more than 3,000what it is,” observes James. “But older people have gay-straight alliances in high schools and collegesa lot of outdated concepts of what gay people across the country, and 46 percent of Americanslook like and how they live their lives and what ages 18 to 29 report having a close friend or familythey want for themselves.” One day at work, James member who is gay.26 The gay community has comewas entertaining the department head’s kids with to rely on Gen Y as one of its greatest advocates incomputer games when a young manager joked the struggle for civil rights.that at least he was getting a chance to practice hisparenting skills. But another fifty-something boss In sum, a longtime exposure to and proximityquickly retorted, “Oh, you’ll never need those.” Says with people of different backgrounds, races andJames, “I don’t think someone my age would say orientations have created a generation particularlysomething like that.” at ease with multiculturalism. Gen Y doesn’t merely talk about diversity. This generation epitomizes aGen Y’s comfort with colleagues from all tolerance for difference in every aspect of their lives.backgrounds is deeply rooted. The eldest of the This is an especially good piece of news for employersYs witnessed the Boomer-instigated civil rights facing a leaner, more pressured workplace culture in astruggles that have brought a measure of diversity global recession. As corporations fight to diversify andto neighborhoods, community groups and most of survive, Gen Y’s comfort with difference could giveall, to nearly all workplaces. In the decade before inclusive employers a bottom line edge. PART I: GEN Y | 17
  26. 26. Choice, Flex and Balance: A Generation’s Demands 4 R obyn, a Lehman Brothers analyst, had a seemingly ideal childhood. Her dad, a lawyer, worked long hours but tried to be home for dinner each night. Her mom gave up a successful career as an accountant to be home caring for Robyn and four siblings. But next year the family nest will empty as the last child enters college, and Robyn worries about the trade-offs that her mother has made in life. “It is going to be hard for her,” reflects Robyn. “She has no network—especially since my parents moved to a new city for my dad’s job.” Robyn isn’t sure what the future will bring in terms of her own career and family life. But she is certain that she’ll take a different path than her mother did. “I will stay working because I think you need outside interests beside your family.” In an era when more and more mothers were returning to work, Luke also grew up in a traditional one-career household. His mom stayed at home to raise the kids, and his dad was the breadwinner. But his father worked such extreme hours as an attorney that he often didn’t return home until after eleven at night. As a 7 year-old waiting up longingly for his dad to come home, Luke knew the line-up of late night TV shows. Today, Luke is a newlywed, putting in long hours as a rising junior accountant, but he is determined not to continue his current pace. “I just don’t want that for my kids or for my life,” he asserts. Between the start of the Boomer era and the birth Figure 4.1: of Gen Y, family life changed radically. Women who Mother’s Employment by Generation traditionally would have quit the labor force after having children began returning to work while 44% 42% raising Ys. Forty-six percent of Boomers surveyed for Bookends had a stay-at-home mother, and only 56 percent had a mother who worked throughout their childhood years. But the numbers nearly 26% reversed for Gen Y, with 74 percent growing up 25% with a working mother and only 26 percent having a mom who stayed at home. Nearly 90 percent of 17% 13% 13% 15% both generations had fathers who worked full- time. In just a few decades, for better and worse, a predictable, gender-stratified Ozzie and Harriet Continuous Full-time but Part-time Homemaker world was replaced by an era of dual parents full-time off-ramped juggling and dinners on the run. With more and more women in the workplace, the strictly full-time Gen Y Boomers and strictly homemaker mother morphed into one who took scenic career routes—off-ramping and on- To that end, Gen Y is largely balanced, placing equal ramping from the career highway to accommodate importance on work and home, and rejecting their the responsibilities at home. parents’ predominantly work-centered or family- centered models of living. Regardless of which of Yet while more moms were pulling in paychecks, their parents brought home the bacon, Gen Y is work was still largely inflexible day by day and rigid reluctant to pursue extreme careers—at least in the across the life span as the Ys grew up. Their parents’ long term. Nor does it matter which parent pursued experiences of an “all or nothing” work world helps a low-key approach to work. Gen Y does not want account for Gen Y’s strong commitment to choice, to emulate the idea of a non-career. This generation flexibility and work-life balance. Gen Ys, such as craves challenge, plus balance. In Gen Y’s view, work Luke and Robyn, seek to cut a vastly different path and fun are an intermingled, ever-changing, equally in their life than their parents. prized mix.18 | BOOKEND GENERATIONS
  27. 27. MULTICULTURAL VIEWGen Ys are reluctant to emulate the working patterns of their parents. From Luke’s workaholic dad, to Robyn’sstay-at-home, family-obsessed mother, the “all or nothing” model of work is unappealing to a workforce of GenYs who increasingly values work-life balance.Not only have there been marked changes in Gen Y attitudes to work-life integration, demographic changes inthe workforce composition are also evident. Whereas only 25 percent of Boomers surveyed had mothers whoworked full-time, almost twice as many or 43 percent, of Gen Ys report the same. And even among Gen Ys, adesire for a balanced lifestyle which places equal emphasis on family and career is becoming more and morecommon. Newlywed Luke is clear that he does not want to follow in his father’s footsteps by working well pastten every night. He is determined that his kids will benefit from a more active presence—and visibility—in theirlives. Like Luke, Generation Y is actively seeking out ways to manage the demands of family and work. For thisgeneration, work-life balance is a right, not a privilege.Although there have been sharp increases in the numbers of mothers who now pursue careers either on afull-time or part-time basis, important distinctions across ethnicities exist. Our research tells us that African-American mothers have always worked outside the home. In fact, 57 percent of African-American Boomerssurveyed had mothers who worked compared with 31 percent, 35 percent and 35 percent for Asian, Hispanicand Caucasian Boomers, respectively (full-time plus part-time). These numbers are bigger for mothers of Gen Yssurveyed, yet the disparity between African-American working mothers and mothers of all different races holds.Figure 4.2:Gen Y Mother’s Employment Caucasian African-American Asian Hispanic 71% 44% 40% 38% 27% 28% 26% 19% 16% 12% 13% 15% 15% 2% 6% 9% Continuous full-time Full-time but off-ramped Part-time HomemakerFigure 4.3:Boomer Mother’s Employment 55% 53% 46% 40% 24% 23% 20% 22% 16% 15% 14% 13% 12% 9% 11% 4% Continuous full-time Full-time but off-ramped Part-time HomemakerNot surprisingly, the figures are reversed for full time homemakers: only 25 percent of African-AmericanBoomers had stay-at-home moms compared with 48 percent of Caucasians. Among Gen Y, the gap remains:9 percent had mothers who were homemakers compared with 27 percent of Caucasians. When we think aboutgenerational and demographic changes, it is important to bear these distinctions in mind. PART I: GEN Y | 19