There is a lot of debate these days about the future of the post-pandemic workplace, and especially generational differences in work styles and preferences. The spotlight is especially focused on the latest generation to enter the workforce, Gen Z. As one recent Fortune headline told the story, “Managing Gen Z is like working with people from a ‘different country.’” In fact, a lot of ink on this topic is dramatic and many stories focus on big generational differences. But is it true that generations are vastly different? Just how different are generations really?
In advance of Labor Day this year, Weber Shandwick, United Minds, and KRC Research collaborated to find out. The teams wrote a series of questions to draw out generational differences. We asked employees their philosophies about work; management aspirations; preferences for in-person vs. remote work; willingness to go above and beyond on the job; and how they rank things like compensation, professional development, title, impact, flexibility, recognition, and benefits. KRC conducted a national survey of 1,049 U.S. adults 18 years and older who are employed full- or part-time (August 19 to 24, 2022), and analyzed the data comparing generations. What did we find? While there are some differences, generations are more alike than different.