Top 5 Reasons Gen X Workers Quit Their Jobs

Gen X has spent a lifetime at jobs overshadowed by baby boomers and Gen Y. As soon as the economy improves, surveys show many will move on.
Freelance writer/editor/producer, Various online and print publications
January 17, 2013

Millennials are thought to be the generation most prone to job hopping, but they aren't the only workers who have a "lack of loyalty" in the workplace

It turns out Gen Xers—those currently in their early 30s to mid-40s—aren't planning on staying with their employers for very long either. 

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting, only 37 percent of Gen Xers said they plan on staying with their current employers once the economy improves, compared to 44 percent of Gen Y and 52 percent of baby boomers (via MSNBC).

As a manager, it's your job to make sure everyone on your team is being as productive as possible, even if you have to treat everyone a little bit differently to do so. The more effective you are at flexing your managing style, the more effectively your employees will carry out their assignments.

"If employees work better in groups or with flexible work schedules, encourage this behavior. If they are the loner type, that’s okay too,” says Morgan Norman, founder and CEO of WorkSimple, a social performance management platform. “Don’t force them to change how they perform; it’s essentially ingrained in them and will likely backfire and decrease their morale. Adjust to them."

Why are Gen X workers leaving their jobs? Melissa Llarena, CEO of career-coaching firm Career Outcomes Matter, shares her top 5 reasons:

1. They don't trust corporations. Gen X workers are uncomfortable with corporate life for several reasons: First, as teens they witnessed the baby boomers getting laid off in their 40s; second, that senior generation is now pushing back retirement for financial reasons, resulting in Gen X employees not getting the promotions they thought they would; and third, Gen Y is getting higher salaries and faster promotions because of their technology skills. 

2. They want to become their own bosses. Forget Gen Y being tagged as the most entrepreneurial age. In actuality, Gen X is the most ambitious in starting new businesses. According to a study conducted by The Center for Work-Life Policy, nearly 40 percent of Gen X men and 25 percent of Gen X women reported that they want to eventually become entrepreneurs.

3. They're being poached. By this time in their professional lives, Gen X workers are at the top of their games; hence, they're more "susceptible to poaching from recruiters and former managers," compared to those in other generations, Llarena says.

4. They need fulfillment. By now, Gen X has been working most of their lives and have been overshadowed by the baby boomers and Gen Y. Combine this with their approaching midlife, and Gen X workers feel it's time to find something more meaningful and fulfilling.

5. They're starting families later. According to a study by the Center for Work-Life Policy, Gen X has pushed back starting families until their mid 30s to 40s. The study reported that 43 percent of Gen X women and 32 percent of Gen X men don't have children, but may be planning to later. 

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Photo: Thinkstock

Freelance writer/editor/producer, Various online and print publications