What Does The “Generation Gap” Mean?

The phrase “generation gap” implies that a great chasm exists between the old and the young, and that it must be immensely difficult to overcome. Kingsley Davis first wrote about it (in a business sense) in 1940. He thought that rapid social change was responsible for this parent-child-youth type of conflict. His initial article spurred a massive amount of research about the generation gap, with a range of results.

There is a perception that one generation is vastly different from the other in terms of values, attitudes, and lifestyle; that cross-generationally, we do not have things in common. When we step back and really examine the situation however, although the conditions do exist, they are actually not that common. What we see are the ways that previous generations have great influence on younger generations despite also having differences, and the ongoing idea that each generation cannot possibly meet the needs of the other.

As a result, we need to view the gap as something that is far shallower and less confrontational than the media or business writers generally portray. In reality, both in the workplace and at home, there is lots of reciprocity between the generations, especially once they come to know and understand one another, even just a little.

The presence of difference comes out of several things that we know for sure. For example, there are currently four, and sometimes even five generations, working in one place. Each generation has specific defining characteristics about how they approach life, not just work.

Here is the breakdown:

Silent Generation (sometimes called Radio Babies), born 1930-1945.
Baby Boomers, born 1946-1964 in the US, to 1966 in Canada, to 1971 in the United Kingdom.
Generation X, born 1965-1976.
Generation Y, born 1977-1985.
Millennials, born 1986 and later.

There was a period in the late 1990s when managers would hire just about anyone with a heartbeat to fill a position. At that time, the United States was short approximately three to four million workers. By 2010, they will be short 10 million workers because the shift of Baby Boomers out of the workforce will continue, and there are far less people coming behind them.

In addition to what is a purely physical numbers game, there are other things to consider. About 80% of people in the workforce don’t want to go to work at the beginning of their workweek, and 97% of them would change occupations if they became financially independent.


Author: Matthew Coppola, Managing Director of Client Centric.

Client Centric – Executive Employment Solutions are a boutique employment services company specialising in executive and managerial level roles. We are committed to helping you succeed in your career and to do this we have the best staff on board to help you reach your goals. Our team are highly experienced and knowledgeable in a broad range of areas and expertise, so you get the best advice. We service clients all over Australia including Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Hobart.  We provide Resume Writing ServicesCover Letter WritingLinkedIn ProfilesAddressing Selection Criteria’s and we also offer a Job Application Service where we apply for jobs on your behalf and all you do is wait for the call. Please visit our website at www.clientcentric.com.au to find out more.

An Explanation Of Generation Y By Matthew Coppola

OMG. IM ROFLMAO ATM. BTW I G2G but ill BRB.If your not up with the lingo I just said Oh my goodness. Im Rollling over Laughing my ass off. I got to go but ill be right back. Today im going to be talking about the generation that talks like that.Known for their optimistic attitudes, aspirations for higher education, ability to work collaboratively, their open-mindedness, and drive, Generation Y are here. And they are making a statement.They are tech-savvy, travel-mad, self-absorbed, peer-pressured, celebrity-obsessed, Facebook-compulsive, iPod-wearing, brand-conscious 20-somethings who live with their parents and show no loyalty to their employer THEY’RE supposed to be hip, smart-talking, and sometimes seem to suffer from an overdose of self esteem. With a BlackBerry in one hand, half-caf latte in the other and an iPod-plugged earphones surgically attached to ears, they are ambitious, demanding and apparently born to rule. Right now!They are Generation Y and there are more than four and a half million of them in Australia.

You could also call them the internet generation, echo boomers, igeneration, the mypod generation or the millinials. They have become almost a household name!

The exact years are a subject of debate however I can provide some insight into the reason why Generation Y do what they do.

Now if another Generation provided this information it may be how they are viewed from the outside. Today I would like to give you some of the inside scoop for Gen Y.

So what makes them tick? How do we recruit them? More importantly, how do we retain them?

Firstly well look at what factors influence this generation, so we understand where they are coming from.


Baby Boomers were influenced by the dawn of the TV, Rock and Roll, the Cold War, Vietnam War, the danger of nuclear war. Xers saw the Personal Computer, AIDS, single parent families, the growth in multiculturalism, and the downsizing of companies.

Gen Y have lived through the age of the internet, cable television, globalisation, September 11 and environmentalism


Unlike previous generations before them, peer pressure has become a major influence on Gen Y.
They wont listen to the media and are less likely to listen to their parents. But they will listen to their friends.

Unlike the pen-pal relationship that teens of the 1970s enjoyed, Gen Y no longer need to wait for letters in transit.

Gen Y are also communicating with one another using different communication mediums than previous generations. Instant messaging technologies and mobile phones have become very popular with Gen Y.

Online communication affords instant gratification for the users involved. Messages appear on the screen mere seconds after they are posted, allowing conversation-style communication between friends.


Ask any Gen Y What/who has a lot of influence on your thinking and behaviour? and most of them will likely say TV and movies.

Research shows that Aussie teenagers are now spending more time watching TV today then compared to four years ago, up from 2 hours 16 minutes per day to 2 hours and 20 minutes, a growth of 3.6%.

In addition to the growing Internet and video games use, they are now approaching 4 hours screen time per day.

Ease of access to a computer with internet connection and portable devices such as IPhones which can connect to the internet mean that Gen Y spend a great deal of time online and on social networking mediums such as facebook.


Gen Y have also experienced different economic, social and political conditions than previous generations. Before the financial crisis occurred, most Aussie gen Ys had no idea what impact a recession has on society.
Which partly explains why most of Gen Y are still living at home.

Although they are the most materially endowed, and entertained generation of teenagers ever, they have been seriously affected by the economic climate.

Economic crises, including the dot-com bubble in 2000, and the United States housing bubble that resulted in the financial crisis have made paying any rent, hard for this generation riddled with high unemployment levels.

Theyve also seen the costs of their parents success in terms of broken marriages, absentee parenting, and an epidemic of stress related illnesses.

How To Make The Most Out Of Employing Generation Y By Matthew Coppola

KEY BENEFITS IN EMPLOYING GEN Y”They are tech-smart “” Being the first generation to have grown up with computers, Gen Y are early adopters of new technology.They are fast learners when it comes to new tech gadgets, and can even teach you how to use things like content management systems and social media.

“Inexpensive and cost-effective – Generation Y are less motivated by money than previous generations. work/life balance and flexibility is the most motivating factor for Gen Y, than monetary payment.

“Team players – Generation X have been termed “The Me Generation,” Generation Y are “The We Generation” for their strong belief in community and peer-to-peer relationships.

“High tolerance and acceptance of others – Gen Y have been labelled “The Trophy Generation” as they tend to have a mentality that everyone can do well and no one should be left out.

“Self-expressive “” Twitter, Myspace and Facebook have taught Gen Y to express themselves. In the workplace this means that employees are more open and have the ability to effectively brainstorm ideas and express their opinions in a uniformed manner.

“Aware of the difficulties in the job market for new graduates “” Their experience of recession both in 2000 and the recent financial crisis has made Gen Y more aware of competition in the job market. They are aware that there would be hundreds of applicants who would be more than happy to take their position, so if you employ a graduate, most likely if the job conditions are good, they”ll likely want to stay and will work harder to keep their job.


“Think outside the box and take advantage of the diverse range of talent Gen Y have.

“Manage the individual not the group. Ask them how they are and how their job can work better for them and their life

“Provide a positive workplace culture that encourages creative behaviour and career development.

But make sure that your words meet your actions. If you promise career progression and do not deliver, they are less likely to believe you and stay very long.
“Give immediate feedback: consistently provide feedback and short performance-review cycles supported by coaching or mentoring

“Communicate by asking them questions in the interview process to find out what they are looking for out of the job

“Make sure Gen Y employees know what they are up for in the interview and how they can advance in the business

“Show how they are making a positive contribution to the overall operations of the business

“Get them involved in management meetings

“Allow them to be creative in their job

“Provide training and opportunities for continual development

“Offer opportunities to do work experience in a higher level role

“Set a mentor or coach for a Gen Y employee

“Allow them to apply what they are learning at TAFE/University relevant to the workplace