Generational Mgmt Shift Also Brings Skill Shifts Focus

January 30, 2007 ( - Companies will begin seeing a shift in the skill sets of their management workers as baby boomers begin falling out of the workforce into retirement and are replaced with Generation X managers, who have different strengths, according to a recent survey.

Research from Personnel Decisions International (PDI) cautions that companies face a substantial employee skills shift as 22.5 million baby boomers are on schedule to retire during the next 10 years and company leadership transitions to Generation X managers.

Baby boomers received higher ratings from their managers in 10 out of 18 competencies, being found nearly 18% more likely to be rated as “knowing the business” and 10% more likely to use technical or functional expertise on the job. Baby boomers also rated substantially better in their ability to coach and develop and their ability to manage execution.

On the other hand, Gen X managers are more likely to receive higher ratings in self development, work commitment and analyzing issues than their older counterparts, according to thehuman resources consultant’s survey of nearly 24,000 mid-level managers.

Baby boomers were also found to be:

  • 14.4% higher in coaching and development skills than their Gen X counterparts,
  • 12% higher in managing execution using technical/functional expertise and
  • 9.8% higher in organization skills.

Generation X managers posted stronger marks in self development (9.8%), work commitment (6.5%) and analyzing issues (5.9%) than their older counterparts.

“Research shows Gen X managers may struggle to fill the baby boomers shoes if companies expect them to have the same big-picture view of the industry and technical knowledge as their predecessors,” said Brian Davis, executive vice president, practice areas at PDI, in the release. “Companies need to be aware that a smooth transition to Gen X leadership may mean a shift from the expectations they had for baby boomers.”