Hiring and Retaining Generation X Employees

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January 30, 2013


Hiring Generation X EmployeesGeneration X — the 44 million people born between the early 1960s and 1980s — has known a more competitive job market than other generations. With the 90s recession and dot-com bust early in their careers, Gen Xers have a different perception than Baby Boomers about career-long jobs, security and benefits. When recruiting a Gen X employee for a position in your company, you should keep certain things in mind:

  • Value their adoption of technology: Unlike Generation Y, Gen Xers saw early computer and Internet use, mobile telecommunications and other technologies as they emerged. Thus, they remember a life without them, and have learned to balance their use of them in the workplace, without as much of a dependence on them for survival.
  • Overlook their less-than-stable career history: For many Gen Xers, the job market has afforded them little opportunity for career stability, so employers may notice more job-hopping and career changes on candidate resumes. Bear in mind that this may be a reflection of the economy, rather than the candidate’s choice, and weigh this against their strengths and qualifications when evaluating them for the position.
  • Give them a path for advancement: Because of their skepticism of life-long employment with a company, help encourage loyalty among Gen X employees by showing them a clear path to promotion and retention with your company.
  • Challenge, stimulate and motivate them: Generation X employees respond well to a varied and intellectually stimulating work environment. Give them opportunities to learn and grow at their own pace while collaborating and competing in a relaxed and fun work setting.
  • Understand their need for balance: Generation X appreciates perks such as telecommuting, flextime or part-time options for maintaining their important work-life balance. Offering these perks or arrangements as part of your compensation package may appeal to a Gen X job candidate.

Finding the hidden motivators within each generation of employees can help you hire diversely, and hire the right people for your positions, as well as help you retain them once you hire them. In a future post, we’ll discuss tips for hiring Baby Boomers within your organization.