The recruiting landscape is in constant flux and influenced by numerous external factors. The financial crisis several years ago was a global event that affected all of us directly. But more often than not there are subtle changes that impact an organization’s efforts to identify and retain top talent. Organizations need to be nimble and stay ahead of the curve to effectively target the right candidates through methods that appeal to them. As an international educator who has worked with college-aged students and young professionals from across the globe for more than 20 years, I have witnessed first-hand the transition from serving and advising both Generation X and Generation Y. And while all individuals are different, members of each generational group share common characteristics that shape their behaviors and desires and result in different motivations for success and happiness in the workplace.

Generation X: The Digital Migrants

Born in 1967, I came of age during a key digital revolution in the United States. In the late 1970s my friends and I were playing video games on consoles attached to our televisions. By the early 1980s we were using Commodore 64 or Apple II computers in our homes, withdrawing cash from ATMs for the first time, and learning BASIC in school. By the mid-1980s we were replacing our LPs with CDs and by the late 1980s we ditched our typewriters for PCs. The digital revolution had started a few decades before but it did not really begin to impact the daily lives of mainstream America until the 1980s and 1990s; this was the catalyst for the way technology has come to shape our everyday lives today. As a result, Generation X were some of the earliest adopters of new technologies in the workplace like e-mail, the first instant messaging that would come to revolution and define social media in a few years. As digital migrants, Generation X immigrated to a working world that required the use of technology to survive and to get ahead and we were the first-adopters of these internet-based technologies in the workplace.

For the full article on Generation X and Y, and the impact they’re having within the recruiting landscape, see page 86 of the April National HRD Publication.