Thursday, August 10, 2006

Gray Ceiling and Generation X

In the August 21, 2006 issue of Fortune Magazine, senior writer Anne Fisher writes about Generation X as a generation of workers that can't get ahead because aging boomers above them won't budge, and offers them some advice for how to break through the "Gray Ceiling"--"increasingly, younger workers are finding that no matter how many hours they put in or how much their bosses rave about their work, they're just plain stuck."

According to Fisher, employers helped build the Gray Ceiling during the late '90s by, among other things, starting to campaign to keep older workers kicking around. However, many companies are unaware that they have created a Gray Ceiling and companies that don't "realize that if they aren't focused on how to keep Gen Xers happy will inevitably find that somebody else is." Gen Xers report that 51% have been given a fancier title--"the addition of the word "special" or "specialist" to a title is particularly in vogue."--in the past two years, yet 47% say they're still doing the same job.

The postive things companies are doing to keep their younger workers include moderated diversity training with both boomers and Gen Xers, rotating young talent throughout the organization, and making tuition reimbursement programs more generous. For Gen Xers, themselves, their strategies may be jumping into a different industry or a foreign market or starting a new venture; while risky, "staying put in a going-nowhere job may be an even bigger gamble."

Source: Fortune Magazine "Middle management Hell: Have you outgrown your job?" (August 9, 2006)

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