On Deck: The New Silent Generation

Even though just a little more than half of the Millennials (born 1980-2000) are currently in the workforce, people are already starting to wonder, “Who’s next?” After all, the first of this new generation very likely will be entering the workforce within the next nine years. Start planning now!

The name of this new generation is still up for debate. Possibilities include Generation Z, Digital Natives, the Net Generation, the 21st Century Generation, and the True Millennials. Due to the cyclical nature of generational characteristics, “the New Silent Generation” may be the most descriptive name, because its members will likely mimic many of the traits of the Silent Generation (born 1923-1944). For several reasons, the New Silent Generation will value career stability, ecological responsibility, and social justice. Like their Silent forebears, they may tend toward a more conservative, risk-averse lifestyle, preferring to travel less and remain with employers for long periods.
Growing up as digital natives, the New Silent Generation will share traits with their immediate predecessors, the Millennials. Specifically, the New Silents will blur the lines among races, ethnicities, and cultures, favoring inclusion in the workplace. This preference is likely to lead to high expectations from employers, who will include them as key players in plans and decisions. As many of the proposed names imply, this will be a generation where technology comes as easy – and as necessary – as breathing. This generation will be raised on the fact that technology advances happen rapidly. While already important, how well your organization manages its technology infrastructure will be critical for these entry-level employees. Finally, as the economy continues to struggle, what lessons will this newest generation learn as they observe their parents make choices between “wants” and “needs”? Some marketing experts predict that this generation will embody many of the same values of their Silent Generation great-grandparents of thrift, saving, and economic frugality.