The importance of generational awareness for libraries


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This is a presentation I presented at Library conference last week detailing the age of Higher Academic Librarians in South Africa.

I also talked about how the different generations view work and work with their co-workers.

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The importance of generational awareness for libraries

  1. 1. The importance of generational awareness for libraries<br />Sophie van der Walt<br />Search Librarian – Unisa<br />Tanya du Plessis<br />Postgraduate Supervisor - UJ<br />
  2. 2. Who Did I Talk To?<br /><ul><li> GAELIC Libraries:
  3. 3. University of Johannesburg (UJ)
  4. 4. University of South Africa (Unisa)
  5. 5. North-West University (NWU)
  6. 6. University of Pretoria (UP)
  7. 7. University of the Witwatersrand (WITS)</li></li></ul><li>Purpose of today<br />To shock you!<br /><ul><li>To illustrate how different ages of librarians prefer to work and work with one another</li></li></ul><li>So what’s so shocking about librarians?<br />There won’t be many left! <br />
  8. 8. Retirement forecast for SA Academic Libraries<br />Imminent staff exodus <br />Planning and training programmes for new middle and top management positions <br />Succession planning<br />
  9. 9. So how do we work together?<br />Group synergy or group conflict?<br />
  10. 10. Who are “we”?<br />Cuspers<br /><ul><li>Gen X
  11. 11. 1963-1983 (UK)
  12. 12. 1966-1984 (UK)
  13. 13. 1970-1989 (SA)
  14. 14. Gen Y
  15. 15. 1979 – 2001 (USA)
  16. 16. 1985-2001 (UK)
  17. 17. 1990-2005 (SA)</li></ul>Cuspers<br /><ul><li>Traditionalists
  18. 18. 1923-1945 (USA)
  19. 19. 1918-1945 (UK)
  20. 20. 1930-1949 (SA)
  21. 21. Baby Boomers
  22. 22. 1943 – 1962 (USA)
  23. 23. 1946 – 1965 (UK)
  24. 24. 1950-1969 (SA)</li></li></ul><li>Who are “we”?<br />
  25. 25. How do we work together?Traditionalists<br />
  26. 26. Baby Boomers<br />
  27. 27. Gen X<br />
  28. 28. How do we REALLY work together?<br />The evidence<br />
  29. 29. Work values<br /># 1<br />The main reason for Generation X'ers staying with their current organisation is because they feel that they are doing meaningful work<br /># 2<br />Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers placed the greatest importance on a positive working environment<br />
  30. 30. Work values<br /># 3<br />Traditionalists ranked security and meaning or purpose as the work values they view as most important<br /># 4<br /><ul><li>Baby Boomers and Generation X'ers viewed meaning or purpose as well as intellectual stimulation as most valued</li></li></ul><li>Work values<br />Surprise 1 <br /><ul><li>all three generations disagreed that a person should build a lifetime career with one company</li></ul>Surprise 2<br />more Traditionalists have changed careers than Baby Boomers or Generation X'ers<br />
  31. 31. Work-life balance<br /># 1<br />Traditionalists are the generation that are the most satisfied with the balance between work and family<br /># 2<br />Generations X'ers disagreed most that their family life kept them from getting work done on time. This shows that they seem to have achieved an agreeable work-life balance<br />
  32. 32. Work-life balance<br />Surprise 1<br />Baby Boomers agreed most that they’d prefer a work schedule that allows them to spend time with their family, rather than doing challenging work or earning a high salary<br />
  33. 33. Rewards<br />#1<br />Baby Boomers and Generation X'ers were the generations to place more value on cash bonuses and paid training courses or skills development than the Traditionalists<br />
  34. 34. Rewards<br />Surprise 1<br />Baby Boomers was the generation to place greater emphasis on paid training courses or skills development NOT cash<br />Surprise 2<br />Generation X'ers placed greater significance on cash bonuses NOT skills development<br />
  35. 35. Retirement<br /># 1<br />There will not be enough Generation X'ers and Generation Y'ers to pay for Baby Boomers' and Traditionalists' pension<br /># 2<br />Baby Boomers and Traditionalists would prefer to delay their retirement through working shorter weeks or from home<br />
  36. 36. Co-worker relationships <br /># 1<br />Traditionalists focus more than any other generation on obtaining agreement and the inclusion of all parties in a team<br />#2 <br />Traditionalists are the generation with the least preference to be the leader of a team<br />
  37. 37. Co-worker relationships <br />Surprise 1<br />Generation X'ers, more than the other generation, prefer to work in a group or team<br />Surprise 2<br />Generation X'ers, not Baby Boomers, show the highest preference to be the leader in a team<br />
  38. 38. Why should we care?<br />Remember this?<br />