Talkin'​ 'Bout My Generation...


Why the alphabet soup- and what does it mean? We talk a lot about Millennials, but that’s just one (aging) category.

Here’s the skinny:

“As of 2018, the breakdown by age looks something like this:

  • Baby Boomers: Baby boomers were born between 1944 and 1964. They're current between 54-74 years old (76 million in U.S.)
  • Gen X: Gen X was born between 1965 - 1979 and are currently between 39-53 years old (82 million people in U.S.)
  • Gen Y: Gen Y, or Millennials, were born between 1980 and 1994. They are currently between 24-38 years old.
  • Gen Y.1 = 24-28 years old (31 million people in U.S.)
  • Gen Y.2 = 28-38 (42 million peeps)
  • Gen Z: Gen Z is the newest generation to be named and were born between 1995 and 2015. They are currently between 3-23 years old (nearly 74 million in U.S.)

The term “Millennial” has become the popular way to reference both segments of Gen Y (more on Y.1 and Y.2 below). 

Realistically, the name Generation Z is a place-holder for the youngest people on the planet. It is likely to morph as they leave childhood and mature into their adolescent and adult identities.”

This breakdown is from a great article at: Community Rising/Kasasa

I encourage you to read the whole thing; most fascinating is their second breakdown of how each age group responds to our culture at large, from TV viewing to banking.

My surprise take-a-way? Gen Z (currently people in their 20’s, so, our apprenticeship age group) is the most fiscally conservative. Yes, the most conservative. It makes sense when you think about it. This generation has seen the struggles of the older Millennials to achieve work after an expensive education, and the crushing weight of school debt that takes decades to pay off.

Gen Z wants to avoid these debts, has a real interest in personal banking and how it really works, and is concerned about debt to income ratio. They tend to be “savers”.

What was old became new again- I am 61 and was raised by “savers” of the WWII generation. Admittedly, I didn’t take it seriously until my late twenties, and made that very clear to our kids- SAVE when you start working.

But, to our purposes as employers in the electrical industry, what does the generational breakdown show us?

I read various electrical newsletters and trade articles, from across the nation, and have seen some “us vs. them” mentality in forums. Older generation electricians complaining that Gen Y and Gen Z workers want to “depend on their Cry Phones” instead of figuring a problem out. That younger workers would rather get home to their families than put in lucrative overtime.

I have also seen savvier postings from older electricians who take the time to point apprentices and Journeymen in the direction of online resources to their questions and concerns. Well done you, Sirs.

Understanding who we are hiring is important. We can’t get young people to look at the Trades or consider apprenticeship if we are putting them down summarily, or waiving pencils and papers in front of them for “cyphering”.

In surveys where they ask Millennials if they would like to join a strong, high earning industry, the Millennial response is, “Of course.” They want to know what is available to them.

Until they hear it’s the Trades… certainly not all, but many Gen Y’ers still hesitate, even with strong evidence of the demand for and earning power of the Trades, because they grew up largely under white collar parents urging them to “get a better job than that guy”.

This has been one of our greatest cultural mistakes. Let’s right it.

Speaking for the electrical industry- electricians are “Light Blue Collar”.

  • They are not fully blue or white.
  • They work (earn while you learn) while they go to school for their Journeyman’s license- four years.
  • If they wish to pursue a Master’s after they have finished their Journeyman’s, it’s an additional four years.
  • This is a LOT more education than the average “white collar” position.

Millennials and Gen Z’s- pay attention. I’m telling you via Social Media. You should take a strong look at electrical apprenticeship for a future that is in demand, strong earning power, and highly technical.

Take that to the bank. 

enny Boone Business Development
IEC Chesapeake/IECC




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