Generational differences in work values: Leisure and extrinsic values increasing, social and intrinsic values decreasing
This study examines a US nationally representative sample of young people and measures their values at the same age at different points in time, to observe generational differences in values. It is recognized that today’s workforce consists of individuals from four generations: the Silent Generation (born 1925-1945), the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1981), and Generation Me (1982-1999). Results indicate that leisure values increased steadily over the generations and work centrality declined. Generation Me place more value on work that provides extrinsic rewards.
One of the biggest challenges for organizations in the coming years will be the retirement of more than 75 million older workers and their replacement by a comparable number of young people entering the workforce. Organizational practices are changing to adapt to the work values of Generation Me; SAS has an in-house gym; leading companies have added amenities focusing on work–life balance on site like facilities for laundry and massages; eBay set aside two rooms for meditation; and KPMG now offers workers 5 weeks of paid time off during their 1st year. Other companies have tried to attract the young generation with programs that allow employees to volunteer to help others during work hours or that emphasize the social good behind their products or mission. The findings of this study of the outlining differences in work values can have practical implications for the recruitment and management of the emerging workforce.