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New Study from Egon Zehnder and Kearney Debunks the Myth of a Workplace Generational Divide

Survey of over 8,000 people in the global workforce reveals different generations have a shared outlook on needs and wants in the workplace

ZURICH/CHICAGO – September 28, 2022 – Egon Zehnder, the world’s preeminent leadership advisory firm, in partnership with Kearney, a leading global management consulting firm, today released findings from a new survey with over 8,000 respondents from eight different countries dismissing the myth of a generation divide in the workplace and showing that despite what is often believed, Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers are more alike than different when it comes to workplace matters.

The survey, titled “Different Generations, Same Ideals: What Workers of All Ages Value in their Jobs,” analyzed the similarities and differences among generations and found that they share more commonalities, especially when it comes to personal well-being, work-life balance, and desired traits from leadership. The most notable difference between the generations is how each group defines and plans to achieve their career desires.

Key Findings from the survey include:

  • Personal well-being, stability, and work-life balance matter more than money to all generations. 82 percent of survey respondents agreed that caring about workers’ well-being is the most important factor when choosing an employer. Financial stability ranked second among the top factors employees are seeking from an organization, followed by work-life balance, competitive salary and a celebratory culture.
     
  • All generations value leaders who listen to and empower others. Across the generations, the top five characteristics of an ideal leader remained consistent, with workers desiring leaders who listen to their employees, empower their teams, are transparent in their decision-making and communicate the organization’s higher purpose.
     
  • Two-thirds of employees would leave their jobs for a more meaningful position. The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting have led to the Great Negotiation, shifting workplace power to the hands of employees. Workers want jobs that are personally fulfilling and if an employer is not meeting an employee’s needs, they will take their talents elsewhere. By generation, Millennials (70%) are the most willing to leave a job in search of meaning, compared to Gen X (59%), Gen Z (58%), and Boomers (54%).
     
  • Among all the generations, Millennials feel the most confident and empowered to overcome life’s struggles. As many Millennials step into leadership positions, they’re bringing an energized confidence with them. Seventy-six percent of Millennials are confident they will get the success they deserve in life, followed by Gen X (63%), Boomers (62%) and Gen Z (61%).
     

The results from this study show there is more alignment across generations in the workplace and all generations could lean into the commonalities instead of focusing on differences. 
 
“We’ve been inundated with polarizing workplace narratives that pit younger generations against older generations,” said Edilson Camara, Chief Executive Officer at Egon Zehnder. “It’s important for leaders to unite workers across age demographics, and the best way to do so is by addressing their concerns and keeping your team motivated toward their aspirations. Leaders need to prioritize employee satisfaction simultaneously with business goals to guide organizations towards optimum success.” 
 
Alex Liu, Global Managing Partner at Kearney, said, “Amid the dazzle and hopes of the digital age and the stresses of today’s crazy world, it is easy to forget that old-fashioned human desire for joy is as essential to achieving business goals as ever.”
 
For more information on Egon Zehnder and Kearney’s “Different Generations, Same Ideals: What Workers of All Ages Value in their Jobs,” which surveyed over 8,000 people in the global workforce, visit https://www.egonzehnder.com/different-generations-same-ideals.
 

Generation Survey Sample Size

8,181 participants
5 generations:

  • Gen Z (born between 1997 or younger)
  • Younger Millennials (born between 1988 and 1996)
  • Older Millennials (born between 1978 and 1987)
  • Gen X (born between 1965 and 1977)
  • Boomers (born between 1957 and 1964)

8 countries– Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, United Kingdom, United States

About Egon Zehnder

Egon Zehnder is the world’s preeminent leadership advisory firm, inspiring leaders to navigate complex questions with human answers. We help organizations get to the heart of their leadership challenges and offer honest feedback and insights to help leaders realize their true being and purpose. Our 560 consultants across 63 offices and 37 countries are former industry and functional leaders who collaborate seamlessly across geographies, industries and functions to deliver the full power of the Firm to every client, every time. 
We believe that together we can transform people, organizations and the world through leadership.

For more information, visit www.egonzehnder.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Kearney

Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm. For nearly 100 years, we have been the trusted advisor to C-suites, government bodies, and nonprofit organizations. Our people make us who we are. Driven to be the difference between a big idea and making it happen, we help our clients break through. www.kearney.com

Contacts

Stacy Drumtra, Chicago, Global Marketing Co-Lead 
stacy.drumtra@egonzehnder.com | T: +1 312 805 6736

Martin Klusmann, Global Marketing Co-Lead
martin.klusmann@egonzehnder.com | T: +49 170 236 0101

Ryan Dicovitsky| | Dukas Linden Public Relations
ryan@dlpr.com | T: +1 908 907 7703     

Michaela Heselton | European Marketing Communications Manager, Kearney
michaela.heselton@kearney.com | T: +44 734 1128165

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