Riding the Demographic Wave: The Middle Child Generation

DMEC Staff@Work

The Middle Child Generation: Gen X and Engagement at Work

The Middle Child GenerationBy Matthew Bahl, JD

Director, Health & Productivity Analytics
Prudential Group Insurance

By Kristin Tugman, PhD

Vice President, Health & Productivity Analytics
Prudential Group Insurance

While a lot of attention is paid to Baby Boomers and Millennials, Generation X (Gen X) may be the most important generation currently in the workplace. In 2015, the first Gen Xers turned 50 and many have ascended or are ascending into key leadership roles at their organization.1 This means that more organizations are being led by members of the most skeptical generation in the multigenerational workforce.

Gen X’s skepticism has roots in the cultural, economic, and social angst of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Gen Xers watched their parents get downsized or laid off during the economic downturn in the 1980s.2 Gen Xers’ skepticism, however, is not just based on historical economic trends. Increasingly, Gen X is bearing the brunt of “sandwich generation” responsibilities. According to the Pew Research Center, almost 48% of Gen Xers are providing financial support to at least one child, with 27% providing full financial support.3 Gen Xers are also caring for aging parents, and balancing increased career obligations with increased family caregiving obligations.

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