Gen X

What do Generation X professionals want? Flextime, telecommuting, compressed work weeks – policies and programs that make balancing their work and personal lives easier. And they expect their employers to provide them, according to a recent report by research firm Catalyst Inc.

For the study “The Next Generation: Today’s Professionals, Tomorrow’s Leaders”, Catalyst recently surveyed 1,263 professionals born between 1964 and 1975, working in 10 firms in the United States and Canada. While Catalyst’s mission is to advance women in business and its goal for the survey was to dispel Gen X myths and learn what these workers want most from an employer, the findings also offer valuable insight to firms weighing the value of telework and flextime.

Of those surveyed, 71 per cent were women, 29 per cent men; 71 per cent were married or living with a partner; 36 per cent have children. The average household income was US$103,155, the average tenure with the company was five years. Seventy-eight per cent were from the United States, 22 per cent from Canada.

The study found respondents place more importance on personal goals and values than on those related to work. They report difficulty in managing their work/life commitments, and want organizational support to manage their work/life commitments including flextime, ability to telecommute and access to technology. With the exception of casual dress code, respondents said their job satisfaction is not driven by perks such as conveniences services, gym memberships, reimbursements of meals and travel. And 47 per cent said they’d be happy to spend the rest of their careers with their current organizations.

Twenty-nine per cent of respondents report that the interference of their jobs on their personal lives is “severe” or “very severe”; 43 per cent describe this interference as “moderate.” This suggests either companies aren’t offering the policies and programs needed to support personal and family goals or that such policies and programs aren’t working, Catalyst says.

Although both men and women reported they want to use flexible work arrangements, the percentage of women was a bit higher: