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Multigenerational Job Hunt: How Gen Y, X & Boomers Search

job search, hiring, generations x, gen x, gen y, boomers
Credit: vinnstock/Shutterstock

Many employers with a multigenerational staff have realized that millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers approach their jobs quite differently. Each generation has its own unique outlook on how they want to be managed, where they want their careers to go and what defines success.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, these differences in the workplace also carry over into job searches. New research by the Indeed Hiring Lab found that the three major age groups have distinct preferences when it comes to how they look for work.

  • Millennials prefer to work in urban areas like Boston, New York and Los Angeles. They typically look for jobs on Monday mornings and search for high-skill occupational fields such as computer/mathematical, life sciences and business/financial.
  • Generation X is drawn to "industry hub" cities, such as Seattle for tech and Charlotte, North Carolina, for health care. Members of this generation are generally more active in their job search during evening hours, and look for jobs where they can use their professional experience and tech savvy.
  • Baby boomers have particular interest in certain growing job categories, such as health care practitioners and technical occupations, as well as architecture and engineering. They prefer warmer cities like Phoenix and San Diego, and tend to seek out part-time jobs that will help them ease into retirement. While 48.4 percent of boomers said they search for jobs on a mobile device, they are far less likely to do so than millennials (73.4 percent) or Gen Xers (71.3 percent).

One notable similarity among the generations is the tendency of all job seekers to search more in occupations and locations where there are many jobs. [Tackling the Challenges of the Multigenerational Workforce]

"We found that job seekers at every age respond to labor market conditions," Tara Sinclair, chief economist at Indeed, said in a statement. "And with unemployment down and confidence high for the first time in many years, employers are finding it more important than ever to attract and retain the right talent and are adapting rapidly to these changing conditions."

Based on the data gathered by Indeed, Sinclair shared a few tips with Business News Daily to help candidates of all ages get ahead in today's job market.

Make professional development a priority. Employers recognize that professional development is important for retention. This is one benefit job seekers should not underestimate when negotiating with a potential employer, Sinclair said. Asking for professional development opportunities is a win-win: The employee gets new skills and the employer gets a better skilled worker.

Sell your unique benefits. Workers of different generations have different backgrounds and outlooks, and this diversity is necessary for a successful team. When applying to jobs, Sinclair advised emphasizing the benefits of your experience (as Gen Xers and baby boomers) or your fresh perspective (as a millennial).

Be proactive about gaining the skills you need. Every job requires a certain set of skills, but some fields are much more specialized than others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM and health care occupations are poised for rapid growth through the end of the decade, and younger generations who want to fill the shoes of retiring baby boomers need to research and pursue the skills they'll need to get hired.

"There are many different specializations within these two broad fields, so it is important to do your homework and learn exactly what specialization you want to pursue and what training you need," Sinclair said. "Look at your competition — you can search résumé databases for people who have the job title you want and see what their background entails."  

Regardless of your age or the type of job you're looking for, Sinclair said Indeed's data pointed to an optimistic employment outlook this year.

"The labor market in 2015 is poised to be the best market for job seekers that we've seen in many years," Sinclair said. "This is a great year for job seekers of all generations to pursue their passions and look for the right job for them."  

Nicole Fallon

Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. Nicole served as the site's managing editor until January 2018, and briefly ran Business.com's copy and production team. Follow her on Twitter.