Generation X: A Darwinist Time
By Shawn Sturges
Infinity Property Ventures, LLC
Generation X is those born between the years of 1965 and 1980, and many entered the work force during the Clinton administration. This generation in particular has experienced many economic ups and downs. One interesting aspect of this generation is their accumulation of debt. We are often lead to believe that each new generation is set to do better than the last, but that appears not to always be the case. As many of the X’rs went to college in order to create a better life for themselves the debt level incurred due to school tuition stacked up which in turn made it much more difficult when they began their careers. We see that Millennials debt level is even more dramatic, and if a stance is not taken then the possibility for future generation’s debt levels could continue to increase.
Another aspect to the X generation is that marketers almost neglect them within the market. One cause of this we can see is the advent of social media, and how knowledgeable the Millennial generation is towards social media. It seems although the X’rs is generally more educated then prior generations; they are almost treated as the red headed step child and just forgotten about. There are 89 million Millennials which are those born between 1981 and 1996, and the Baby Boomer generation which are those born between 1946 and 1964 which total 75 million. These two significant groups over shadow the X generation because there are only 49 million. All of these totals reflect the population in the U.S. and marketers are drawn to the generations that can in turn produce a potential higher spending power, although the X’rs tend to make a great living it is not quite enough of a factor to interest marketers to pay attention.
One reason that this generation has experienced so much trouble is due to the recent housing collapse. The housing market boom made it enticing for X’rs to purchase their first homes many which were out of their working budget. When the bubble burst the carpet was pulled right out from under their feet, and their debt level went through the roof along with their home equity. However, as the economy began to recover we have seen that the housing market has bounced back as well.
Another interesting aspect of the X generation is the gender competition in the work place for similar jobs. For the first time with this generation the glass ceiling has slowly dissipated as women are gaining more roles in upper management. As a result the shared work goals of both men and women X’rs results in a lower potential for children, or the decision to have children comes later in life. No longer are women seen as homemakers, but instead business owners and heads of companies.
Another negative impact on this generation was the result of the down economy that occurred as many Baby Boomers were set to retire. Many Baby Boomers had to prolong retirement in order to recover lost assets which in turn did not open many positions for the next generation to take over. Furthermore, technology that Millennials have adopted so well might just launch them past their X’rs in the workplace. Many Millennials have not known a life without social media and how transparency has become a result demanded by this generation it has truly become a Darwinist time. Those not adopting social media and technology will parish while the youngsters flourish. One might wonder if this is wise to hand the reigns over to a younger generation that might not have as much experience in the work place. One way to combat this is for X’rs to embrace the new ways of business which many have done so, and not simply step aside but rather make their presence once again known.