news and press News Major differences between generations in workplace
News Utrecht 06 June 2023 09:00 EU/Amsterdam

Major differences between generations in workplace, yet 64% see mostly advantages of working together

A representative survey by a.s.r. among working Dutch people shows major differences between generations when it comes to the desire to work flexibly, coping with workload and needs regarding retirement. The survey also found that 64% of working people in the Netherlands feel that working with colleagues from different generations has more advantages than disadvantages. Several teams experience more job satisfaction, work less overtime, and are more active in managing their workload.

Generation Z, born between 1995-2015, places less importance on the physical presence of colleagues in the office than Millennials (born between 1980-1994) and Generation X (born between 1955-1979). In addition, Generation Z more consciously tries to reduce the workload. They make an effort to ensure that they do not have too much on their plate, whereas generation X less actively pursues this. Furthermore, generation Z is significantly more open to a second job than other generations. For example, 16% of working Gen Z-ers in the Netherlands say they currently combine multiple jobs. Against 8% on average of the workforce in paid employment in the Netherlands. 

The generations hold different ideas about the proposition that more work experience also automatically leads to having a stronger say in the workplace. Many representatives of the younger generation believe that the more work experience someone has, the more say they have. Jolanda Sappelli, director of HR at a.s.r.: ‘Remarkably, the study shows that older generations in particular feel that this proposition is not always true. In particular the younger generations themselves believe that they need to have more experience in order to have a say. We encourage colleagues to have an ongoing discussion about what they expect from each other. The perception often held is that older generations would feel that younger generations have to ‘prove themselves first’ in the workplace. And this now turns out to be a myth’. 

The different generations are unanimous in their belief that mental and physical health is the main reason for early retirement, regardless of whether they are happy with their jobs or not. Half of Dutch workers say they want to retire earlier than their pensionable age, 9% choose to continue working longer after their pensionable age. It is also notable that, compared to other generations, people in their thirties are more likely to express a desire to retire earlier if this is financially feasible. 

The survey shows that employees working together with different generations significantly more often have the intention to stay with their current organisation. Jolanda Sappelli: ‘In addition, offering distinctive fringe benefits that meet the needs of different generations seems increasingly important. For example, almost half of those in their twenties say they would like a (paid) sabbatical. So this is really something that companies can use to win over younger generations’. 

Opinions differ among working people in the Netherlands on responsibility for pension accrual: 41% say the employer is responsible for this, while 22% of the Dutch working population do not see it that way. It is notable that younger generations (Generation Z and Millennials) are considerably more likely to see pension accrual as a responsibility of the employer, whereas older generations believe that employees themselves should indeed also carry responsibility for this. 

Research justification 

The survey was conducted on behalf of a.s.r. by DVJ Insights among a representative sample of the working population in the Netherlands. A total of 1,017 people were surveyed in early May of this year, including 140 from Generation Z, 365 Millennials and 503 from Generation X. The survey took place in the period 1 through 7 May 2023. 


Human Resources Pensions
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