The Strengths of Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials as Entrepreneurs

July 2016

When it comes to entrepreneurship in today's global economy, it would be foolish to assume that all generations are inherently the same. While every generation has qualities that make for a good entrepreneurial environment, there are still some key differences when it comes to each generation that set them apart from the others. In this post we're going to look at some of these differences, not just so that we can see what sets each generation apart when it comes to being an entrepreneur, but also so that we can see what binds the generations together as well. So let's look at the strengths of baby boomers, gen xers, and millennials when it comes to being an entrepreneur.

There was a recent study that surveyed 1,200 professionals who span all generations and a variety of industries as to the overall strengths and weaknesses of each generation, based on what their peers tended to notice about the people they worked with. In general, the study showed that millennials are considered to be very tech savvy, but that they aren't the best at working in teams. The study also found that gen xers are very entrepreneurial in general, but that they aren't well represented in executive positions. Lastly, it was apparent that baby boomers are very loyal and are good at being team players, but tend not to adapt so well. But while these are general observations when it comes to each of the generations, the survey also showed a few correlations when it comes to the overall strengths and weaknesses of each generation. So let's break down these observations by generation, starting with millennials and working our way back in time to the baby boomers.

Millennials Millennials are considered to be the most tech savvy by far, and tend to be good at using social media to uncover potential opportunities. They're also considered to be the most enthusiastic about their jobs. As far as weaknesses go, millennials are not as good as others when it comes to working alongside members of their team. They weren't seen as particularly hardworking, and they also weren't considered to be a productive member of the company. One perk, however, of millennials is that they're far more likely to ask for a promotion than the other two generations.

Gen Xers The respondents in this study overwhelmingly felt that Gen Xers are best suited for managerial positions. They were also seen as being particularly good at generating revenue and adapting to changes. Gen xers are good problem solvers, they are well suited for collaborating with others, and they ranked highest in wanting flexibility in their position. Weaknesses for Generation X employees include that they are not good at displaying an executive presence, and are not very cost effective.

Baby Boomers In terms of positive attributes, baby boomers were ranked as being the most productive and hardworking. They're also seen as being good at playing well on a team, and are often looked at as mentors for other employees in a company. There are a few negatives when it comes to baby boomers, as those who were surveyed saw them as not being that able to adapt to new situations, and they also have challenges when it comes to collaborating with others in their company. It’s not surprising to find out that baby boomers ranked things like health care and retirement as being more important than gen xers and millennials.

As you can see, there are some fundamental differences when it comes to each generation. There was one thing that all of the generations had in common: money! It was across the board regarded as the highest priority. All of these groups have a variety of positive attributes that set them apart, leading to a well balanced team overall, should your company choose to employ people from a variety of generations. If you're going to be competitive in today's global economic climate, it's important to see things from every perspective and take advantage of the unique abilities of each of the generations when making hiring decisions.