Valued Work Environment Traits Similar among Generations

July 14, 2010 ( – While many surveys focus on the differences between generations in the workforce, a recent survey found similarities.

For all generations surveyed by Robert Half, working for a stable company and having job security were two of the most important aspects of the work environment, beating out having a short commute or working for a socially responsible company. When evaluating employment offers, salary, company stability and benefits were the most important factors for all three generations, according to a press release.   

Health care coverage, dental coverage, vacation time, and 401(k) matching were the highest valued benefits for all generations surveyed.   

Among professionals who plan to work past the traditional retirement age, strong majorities in all generations cited the recession as an important factor in their decision.   

The most commonly cited benefit of being part of multigenerational work teams was bringing together various experience levels to provide knowledge in specific areas.  

However, the survey did find some differences. A greater percentage of baby boomers (54%) than Gen X (46%) or Gen Y (39%) respondents said they will work past the traditional retirement age. More Gen Xers (34%) than baby boomers (27%) said they had increased their retirement savings since the recession began.   

More baby boomers (54%) than Gen X (45%) or Gen Y (35%) employees identified the greatest challenge when working with multiple generations as having differing work ethics and approaches to work/life balance, while more Gen Yers attributed difficulties to differing communication styles (29% for Gen Y versus 16% for both Gen X respondents and baby boomers).

Disgruntled from the Recession  

The recent survey by Robert Half found four out of 10 professionals polled said they are more inclined to look for new opportunities outside their firms as a result of the recession. However, when it comes to post-recession career plans, more Gen Yers (36%) than Gen Xers (30%) and baby boomers (24%) plan to look for new job opportunities.   

Gen Xers polled are more inclined to enhance their skills sets (38%) and build tenure with their companies (33%) in the aftermath of the recession than other generations. For baby boomers surveyed, staying put at their companies was the most commonly cited post-recession career plan.  

More than one-third (37%) of employees said they are not being fairly compensated for assuming a greater workload during the recession.  

Nearly half (46%) of workers believe they will work past the traditional retirement age, and more than one-third said the recent recession has had a very strong impact on those plans.  

However, about one in four (28%) said they are more engaged in their work as a result of the recession.  

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of hiring managers polled said managing multigenerational work teams poses a challenge, but more than one-third of workers polled felt having a group of employees at different experience levels increases productivity.