Millennials get a lot of media attention, but who are the millennials and who is considered to be in generation Z?
Generational differences have a lot to do with stereotypes and bias. Often people make a quick judgment based on perceived age that anyone who is in their mid 30’s or less is a millennial. We see it, read it, or hear it in news reports, professional presentations (excluding those delivered by generational experts), and sometimes in chatter throughout the workplace.
Content marketing organizations and social media outlets thrive on the popular millennial keyword. The truth is, most generational experts agree that there are not three workforce generations, not four workforce generations, but five generations currently active in our workforce.
Okay, but who are they?
Traditionals: Born 1930 – 1945
Baby Boomers: Born 1946 – 1964
Generation X: Born 1965 – 1976
Millennials: Born 1977 – 1994
Generation Z: Born after 1994
While the ranges supplied here seem straight forward, confusion sometimes occurs because the labels such as traditional, baby boomer, and millennial, are not always the same. For example, millennials are commonly known as millennials or generation Y, and generation Z is also known as generation 9/11, or iGen, and others.
While there is much agreement formulated from various sources on the existing (year ranges) frameworks, there is often disagreement as well.
Personally, I believe the last emerging generation, labeled here as generation Z, has the most confusion or disagreement related to framework. During the writing of my book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce, I extensively considered popular wisdom, web based research, and traditional published works citing various frameworks for each generation.
Generation Z has the most unsettled framework with some people citing the starting year as early as 1990, and others believing it may be as late as 2005. Many current views position it closer to the mid-1990’s and for the purpose of clarity in Forgotten Respect, I used the mid-1990’s as the starting year.
My belief is that three factors are largely responsible for creating a generational shift; they are significant changes in socio-economic conditions, significant technology changes, or unfortunately, times of war. Historically, these factors appear to be consistent across the generally accepted framework, and I offer that my position on this latest generation is still evolving.
Generation Z is not another label for the millennials and everyone who is mid to upper 30’s years of age and younger are not all millennials. The millennial generation has an ending year and it is representative of those born around 1990 or slightly later. Those persons currently (circa 2016) filling the space as younger than mid-20’s, born early 1990’s, or later, are Generation Z.
Originally published on September 22, 2016. Last updated on April 1, 2018.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.