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What Background Checks Look Like in a Multigenerational Workforce

Posted by Ryan Howard on Thu, Jul 18, 2019

Multigenerational Workforce Background Checks

Employers are at an interesting era of creating a multigenerational workforce. Workplaces are more diversified than ever and now include five different generations:

  • The "Silent Generation": born from 1928 - 1945 (2% of the U.S. workforce)
  • Baby Boomers: born 1946 - 1964 (25% of workforce)
  • Generation X: born 1965 - 1980 (33% of workforce)
  • Millennials (Generation Y): born 1981 - 1996 (35% of workforce)
  • Generation Z: born 1997 - (5% of workforce)¹

In and of itself, a workforce made up of employees aged 72+ down to 18 years of age can face challenges of working together, finding inclusive motivation and battling stereotypes. Examining background checks of these groups is even more enlightening. 

Here's what to expect on background checks of a multigenerational workforce.

What is a Multigenerational Workforce?

The Silent Generation

For those children born prior to WWII, they knew to work hard and stay quiet. This generation grew up during the Great Depression and were sent away to fight in the Korean War or Vietnam. They did what was expected of them to make ends meet, working hard, marrying and having children young, and looking for employers where they could work into retirement - hopefully with a great pension to follow. Since Americans are living longer, retirement may not suit those of the Silent Generation. Senators, doctors, lawyers, scientists and more are sticking around the U.S. workforce much longer than their parents.

What to expect on a background check: This generation is likely to be highly educated and have remained with a single employer for decades. They may also be wealthier and potentially have better credit than younger generations.

Baby Boomers

"Boomers" were those children who were born to their youthful parents of the Silent Generation and the generation before them. They faced a time of great upheaval in America such as race riots, the Vietnam war protests, assassinations of the president and other political figures, the moon landing and saw the introduction of the television. The United States was financially prosperous and the Baby Boomers helped spur that growth with buying homes, cars and increasing consumer spending and debt. They plan to work hard and enjoy life in the process.

What to expect on a background check:  Boomers have a wide range of work experience but, like the generation before them, will also have remained with the same employer for long stretches of time. They may face more debt and credit challenges as well.

Generation X

Gen X-ers were born of parents who worked hard and long hours. Many of this generation were "latchkey kids", which meant coming home from school to an empty house. They saw the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the internet. They've learned to adapt to a digital world and continued to consume like the previous generation, including more gadgets and electronics. Although they are making more money than the next generation, they're also in the middle of supporting both aging parents and children still living at home. 

What to expect on a background check: Many of those in Generation X have experience working for employers but may also have entrepreneurial or leadership experience. They've either started businesses, worked for other small businesses or worked another business outside of their primary job. They may also struggle with debt but may choose to continue to work instead of retire.

Millennials

As the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, Millennials are also raising the bar on employer expectations. They don't recall a time before the internet and possibly grew up playing computer games.  They witnessed themselves or their parents' reactions to the terror attacks on 9/11 and saw the start of a war that hasn't really ended. They're the most racially and ethnically diverse generation that entered the workforce at the height of an economic recession. They went to college and graduated with student debt and started looking for work during a time of little chance for employment. 

What to expect on a background check: Because of the recession, Millennials may have employment experience that appears to be sporadic. The longest they may have worked for a single employer is just a few years, gaining experience and then moving on. Many have chosen to forego credit cards or buying homes due to student debt and hesitation about owing more than they can afford. They may also have little to no driving record, compared to prior generations, and have shared more of their personal lives on social media.

Generation Z

 Although they're still a small segment of the workforce, Generation Z has the strongest buying power in America and it's expected to keep increasing. This generation grew up on screens, often as many as eight in a single day, reportedly has a shorter attention span than the prior generations. They're expected to be more diverse than Millennials and more accepting of diversity in the workplace. They value success, professional and personal achievement, according to Forbes, and are looking for job stability. They aren't willing to take on student debt for education and are willing to go straight into the workforce, learning and adapting as they go. They'll choose their jobs based on their trust and comfort with the employer's level of acceptance, diversity, fluidity and atmosphere. 

What to expect on a background check: This generation may not go for advanced degrees and instead choose community college, technical schools or even gap year programs for degrees, certification or experience. They may be a little more wary of sharing their lives on a social media app that saves everything forever. Gen Z may also have employment experience that spans the globe seeking to travel and learn more about the world.

A workforce that includes employees from these generations must also ensure they're hiring the right people for the job. To learn more about VeriFirst's employment background checks for employees of every generation, contact us or click below for a free, personalized quote.

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¹Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. Labor Force - Pew Research

Topics: Employment Background Screening