Don’t Be Fooled By Generation Stereotypes – We’re Really Not That Different

In the lead up to ‘The Apprenticeship and Graduate Conversation’ and SMRS have conducted a piece of research that challenges the myths and stereotypes about the four different generations in the workplace to give employers a practical and sensible approach to their talent attraction and engagement. The findings from the research show responses and trends across all generations in their approach to looking for jobs and choosing employers.

There’s a lot in the media about different generations, their behaviours and attitudes, such as Gen Y who we’re led to believe have a ‘sense of entitlement’ and Baby Boomers who are portrayed as ‘slow to adopt new technologies’. But the research findings clearly show that these and many more of the generational characteristics are not true or reflective in the workplace today.

More than 2,400 individuals took part in the extensive research programme, which included both quantitative and qualitative phases, which provides some powerful and robust data businesses can use to guide their attraction and engagement activities. The generation groups used within the research were:

  • Baby Boomers
  • Gen X
  • Gen Y
  • Gen Z


Jobsites and Internet searches ranked as the most likely routes individuals use to look for jobs, with more than 39% of candidates, across all generations, using these as the preferred methods to search for jobs.

And the highest ranking aspect individuals are looking for in an employer is ‘a company that cares about my health and happiness’, with more than 94% considering this important across all generations.


Other key findings include:

  • More than 62% of individuals have searched for jobs in the last three years, including 66% of Baby Boomers
  • More than 80% of individuals would be prepared to ‘go the extra mile’ in their job, with a high of 94% seen from Gen Y
  • More than 88%, across all generations, would be happy to consider a role referred to them by friends or family, with a response of 98% from Gen Z


Toby Windsor, Managing Partner at SMRS commented: “This generational research is very important for us as we were hearing concerns from our clients and other businesses about how to attract individuals across different generations. We are delighted with the outcomes as the research provides real insight for employers on what potential employees are looking for when searching for jobs, their expectations of a workplace and dispels a number of the myths around the needs and expectations of different generations.

The feedback we’ve received from the HR and recruitment professionals who attended our events in September has been fantastic with lots of talk about how the research can be fed directly into their business activities.”

Access the report:

Attend the ‘Apprenticeship and Graduate Conversation’.

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