Generations X и Y: crux, characteristics, application of a theory in recruiting

A myriad of employers, HR specialists and recruiters wonder: how to recruit the best specialists for your company and keep them motivated for a long time?

The secret lies not only in the knowledge of the market and the ability to offer competitive working conditions. It is important to understand the profile of the candidate and build on his needs, to know how to motivate a specialist.

Therefore, professionals in the field of recruitment have drawn attention to the generational theory, which was created in the 90s by American scientists William Strauss and Neil Howe.

The crux of the theory

The main essence of the theory is that people of one generation have a certain set of values, beliefs, behavior patterns. Initially, the theory centered around American society. Its generational cycles Strauss and Howe singled out in their work.
Types of generations are on the left: heroes, artists, prophets, nomads. The first type includes generation Y, the second - generation Z. "X" are nomads. All of them replace each other, forming certain cycles. In total, there are four cycles in the theory of generations that correspond to certain historical epoch.

According to Strauss and Howe, generations are people born in a time span of 20-25 years. Generations are linked by a common historical epoch, common beliefs, a sense of belonging to a certain generation.

People born between 1963 and 1981 belong to Generation X, and those born in 1982–2000 are called Generation Y. The representatives of the generations X and Y are the vast majority today. "Baby Boomers" (1945-1963) have acquired age, while the Generation Z (Homelanders) is only growing up. Therefore, the "X" and "Y" Generations take center stage.

Generation X (1963-1981)

  • Gen X is pragmatic, responsible, loves the freedom of choice.
  • People born in 1963-1981 are eager to build a career and ready to get off the ground, investing time in their career growth.
  • They tend to move in one direction throughout their lives and hold the same position for a long time.
  • Gen X is more likely to work in the specialty.
  • Gen X is adapted to modern technologies, teachable, hardworking.
The most important thing for Generation X is confidence in the future and a sense of stability. Therefore, in order to recruit this generation, you need to give them stability, confidence, and a fixed salary. In addition, it is important for Gen X to feel an indispensable part of the corporate culture of the company and to have career growth opportunities.
Most company executives are now representatives of Generation X, while most of their employees are Gen Y. In order to organize the workflow successfully and be on the same page with the team, it is important to adopt the values of the team.

Generation Y (1983-2000)

  • Unlike Gen X, Millennials (Generation Y) are not ready to wait for promotion for years. Gen Y wants to achieve success as quickly as possible, and the "ground zero" doesn't interest them.
  • Millennials easily change jobs and don't tend to occupy one position for a long time.
  • Generation Y is technically educated, teachable, follow knowledge and constantly gain a lot of information.
  • Flexibility, the desire to find a balance between work and personal life, a quest for personal liberty, quick adaptation to new conditions are typical for Gen Y.
  • The most important thing for Millennials is to do their work well and on time.
In the American magazine's article The Wall Street it is said that Gen Y prefers to align the work with the personal life, and not vice versa. The Millennials often set too high requirements for work.

It's easy to recruit Gen Y. It is difficult to keep them motivated. The main motivation for Millennials is the lack of bureaucracy, adaptability to manufacture, high salary. Gen Y doesn't like office work from 9 to 18. Therefore, the competitive condition is a flexible schedule or remote work.

Millennials also value personal freedom: networking, no dress code, a modern office, and interesting corporate culture. Representatives of generation Y are developing horizontally.

Generaional theory in practice

Not only large companies or small staffing agencies have begun to apply generation theory to improve HR processes. The theory of generations plays an important role in interpersonal communication, helps understand the needs of other people.

When recruiting staff, you should always remember that people of different generations have different needs. For each person the concept of "dream work" is different. Gen X is working for career growth and stability at the expense of pleasure. Gen Y is working for pleasure, sharing work and personal life, where preference is not given to a career.

If you know these features of the candidates, you can adjust the job opening and properly select staff. This reduces the risk of selecting an irrelevant candidate, accelerate the process of hiring a new employee.

If you need help in choosing IT specialists of any age group, Lucky Hunter recruiters will be glad to help you find the best candidate.

Polina Barabanova
Content Manager at Lucky Hunter
Specializes in tech staff recruitment, startups, tech research, career, HR, and news topics. With her expertise, she provides valuable insights and practical advice to navigate the ever-evolving tech industry.

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