Recession Sentiments Across the Generations

Since the recession began, we've been observing the impact (or lack thereof!) of the economy on the attitudes and behaviors of the different generations toward work and life. The results of a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends provide the statistics behind these observations and offer employers valuable data on the financial wellbeing and motivations of their workforces:

  • Traditionalists (age 65+) are most likely to report being very satisfied with their personal finances and least likely to say they will be adversely affected by the recession
  • While Baby Boomers (ages 50-64) have the highest incomes of any generation they are the least likely to be satisfied with their quality of life
  • An equal number of Generation Xers (ages 30-49) and Baby Boomers have suffered more than a 20% loss to their retirement accounts, but Generation Xers are more likely to believe their personal situation will improve by next year
  • Although adult Millennials (ages 18-29) have faired worst in the job market, they are the most confident about their short and long term financial future

The findings above, while partially driven by the current recession, also reflect deep-set generational attitudes. Understanding these attitudes gives us critical insight into the professional motivations and decisions of our current and future employees. How much do you really know about each generation in your workforce? Isn't it time you found out?

Want more insight and tips for managing the different generations in your workplace? Contact us at