BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

A Tale of Two Generations: X and Y

Posted by joyinhome on February 9, 2009


Many myths persist regarding younger generations, such as Gen Y or Millennials (born 1981-1999) and Gen Xers (born 1965-1980), which can have a negative effect to how X and Y (Young Careerists) are perceived and treated in the workplace.

Employers and managers must recognize that these young workers are the future of organizations, and acknowledge that these emerging leaders have a lot to offer a burgeoning, global labor force.



The playing field has been leveled: women and men have essentially the same opportunities to secure successful, profitable careers.


Women are still over-represented in low-paying jobs.

· Forty-four percent of employed women work in technical, sales and administrative support jobs. [i]

· Men are much more likely (43%) to have higher paying blue-collar jobs in production, machine operation and repair than women (10%).

· Women are more likely to have white-collar jobs as professionals (23% versus 16% for men) and in administrative support (22% versus 8% for men), [ii] which typically offer a lower wage.



The percentage of female students enrolled in higher education now outnumbers that of males.


Higher enrollment rates of women at the undergraduate level—57% of bachelor’s degrees are obtained by women, versus 43% by men, according to the Department of Education’s latest statistics—have not translated into equal graduate enrollment rates. [iii]



Current young careerists are, on average, the most educated generation to enter the workforce, and particularly in light of their skills with technology, it is not difficult for young people to obtain secure jobs within the labor force.


53% of all temporary or intermittent workers are under age 35.

· Temporary jobs on average pay lower wages.

· Temporary employees are more likely to suffer periods of unemployment and be poor than are permanent workers. [iv]



Female young careerists have many more opportunities to attain high level positions, because men and women typically have the same prospects to achieve management positions. [v]


While the occupational profile of employed women has diversified and improved since the late 1970s, this progress has failed to translate into similar growth within the upper levels of management.



Young careerists are apathetic and self-centered.


Young careerists tend to be accepting of multiculturalism and the broadest definitions of diversity, while exhibiting a willingness to fight for social justice both within the workplace and the broader community and world.

Read more Gen  X & Y myths in BPW Foundation’s Successful Workplace Digest

Career Resources for Gen X and Y


[i] Women’s Bureau of the United States Department of Labor. (1993, June).

[ii] 2006 Statistics Canada.

[iii] Clune, M., Nunez, A. & Choy, S. (2001, May).

[iv] Jorgensen, Helene. 1999. When Good Jobs Go Bad: Young Adults and Temporary Work in the New Economy. Washington DC: The 2030 Center.

[v] Bond, J., Thompson, C., Galinsky, E. & Prottas, D. (2003), p. 7.


2 Responses to “A Tale of Two Generations: X and Y”

  1. The clash of generations is really just getting started. Boomers are also reacting to having Millennials around (they just got Gen X figured out, and now this!). I have been blogging about the interaction of generations on my blog at http://www.thegenxfiles.com and would love to hear your feedback.

  2. businesswom said

    @5 Maybe they feel like they’re constantly being threatened because of their lack of experience, or overlooked because of their age. If they don’t love themselves, who will? Kidding, but there could be some truth in the myth. You think?

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