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Senior Living Smartens Up by Studying Generational Differences

July 7, 2017 | James Balda

senior-living-generational-differances.jpgSince the 1980s, baby boomers have been saying that the times, they are a changin’. As this large and driven generation has gotten older, its members are also looking for changes in many other facets of their lives, including their careers.

What the baby boomers are looking for in a fulfilling job deviates from the job desires of Gen Xers and the up and coming millennials. Senior living firms can learn strategies for recruiting and retaining top workers by better understanding the professional goals of these age groups that have been influenced and shaped by different societal factors.

In the fall of 2016, Argentum conducted a national survey of about 800 adults to explore perceptions about jobs and careers in the senior living industry. A key finding was the direct correlation between familiarity with senior living and an interest in care giving out a career path in the field. There were also key differences among generational cohorts’ responses from the three age cohorts.

Get the results from the senior living perceptions survey here.

Recently, we took a deeper dive into that survey data to look at some of the generational differences reflecting overall job satisfaction and priorities associated with career choices.

Baby boomers (age 55-70) who would consider a career in senior living:

  • Place a high importance on being able to work independently and being part of a team.
  • Seek to enjoy the work day to day while feeling valued and supported by management.
  • Want to make a difference in others’ lives while belonging to a respected profession.

Generation Xers (36-54) who would consider a career in senior living:

  • Place a premium on opportunity for career advancement and opportunities to innovate.
  • Seek potential to increase earnings and also wish to feel valued and supported by management.
  • Appreciate candid communication and being recognized as an individual.

Millennials (18-35) who would consider a career in senior living:

  • Place high importance on being recognized as an individual and feeling proud of the company they work for.
  • See merit in making a difference in the lives of others while wishing to enjoy the work day to day.
  • Value fair pay for their work and contributions.
The better we understand various segments of the targeted workforce—predispositions, goals for the future—the more compelling and effective initiatives will be in communication, recruitment, retention, and employee satisfaction and engagement.

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About James Balda

James Balda is a guest author for OnShift’s blog and the President and CEO of Argentum, the largest national association exclusively dedicated to senior living communities and the seniors and families they serve.

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