Millennial or Gen X: Who Is the Better Employee?

A new study indicates that millennials have better key skills, such as adaptability and creativity, than previous generations.

Millennial or Gen X: Who Is the Better Employee? Photo (cc) by TheeErin

Millennials have a few distinct skills that give them an advantage when it comes to hiring.

This may surprise you, as they’re often described as the “me” generation, frequently viewed as overconfident, lazy and narcissistic. But a new study reveals that America’s young adults outdo their older counterparts in some key business skills.

According to the study by Elance-oDesk, a jobs website for freelancers, and Gen Y consulting firm Millennial Branding, millennials outperform older generations in these areas: adaptability, capacity to come up with fresh ideas, and the ability to keep up-to-date on emerging technology. A press release said:

Nearly 7 out of 10 (68 percent) hiring managers say millennials have skills prior generations do not, and more than 8 out of 10 (82 percent) hiring managers feel that millennials are technologically adept. In addition, 60 percent of hiring managers agree that millennials are quick learners.

Next year, millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, will become the largest generation in the workforce, the study noted. While 28 percent of millennials surveyed said they’re already in management positions, two-thirds of millennials said they expect to be in management by 2024.

More than 1,000 millennials with a bachelor’s degree or higher, as well as 200 hiring managers, were included in the survey.

Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, said in a statement:

It’s absurd that while we see a record level of job openings, millennials are struggling to find jobs and companies struggle to hire them. Clearly, something is broken.

More than half (53 percent) of hiring managers said it was difficult to find and retain millennial employees. The majority of millennials (58 percent) said they planned to stay at a job less than three years. Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) said they’d stay five years, while baby boomers said they’d stay with a company for seven years on average.

According to MarketWatch, millennials are often viewed as narcissistic compared with their Gen X colleagues. Gen X also scores high points when it comes to being a team player. MarketWatch added:

But 60 precent of HR managers gave millennials credit for being adaptable versus just 40 percent who felt similarly about Gen Xers. Coming of age in a recession has made that a prerequisite, [Mark] Hamrick [of Bankrate.com] adds. “Many millennials may not be happy with the world they’ve been handed,” he says.

So, who is a better employee, a millennial or a Gen Xer? It seems to depend on the job and what skill set is important for the position.

Do you have any experience working with millennials versus other generations? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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