At Work, Gen X Want Flexibility and Fulfilment More Than a Corner Office

Work-life balance is the key ingredient for Gen X career success, according to Viacom International’s latest study.

As the Boomer generation starts to retire, Gen X is rising up in the global economy. What does career success look like for them?

For Gen X, career goals are different than they were for Boomers. Climbing the corporate ladder doesn’t hold much appeal. This generation is not striving for power or money – they want to achieve work-life balance.

Viacom gained new insights about this generation via its newly-launched project Gen X Today, which surveyed 12,000 people ages 30 to 49 in 21 countries*, collected 1,000 images through photo-journals, and hosted a series of intimate dinner discussions and ethnographic interviews in 8 countries.

This research shows that Gen Xers don’t define their own success by external goalposts. In fact, 81% agree that people place more importance on job satisfaction than in the past. They are looking for fulfilment – in whatever way they as individuals define it.

Gen X are savvy about their careers and do not expect to work for a single company until retirement. More than 6 in 10 (62%) agree that to get ahead today, you have to change jobs more often.

Flexibility and reducing stress are key values. While Millennials are often associated with the trend toward workplace flexibility, in reality Gen X have been its driving force. More than 8 in 10 Gen Xers (82%) feel that work-life balance matters more than traditional success.

As work becomes more flexible, gender roles are evolving – allowing Gen X moms and dads to devise their own methods of juggling careers and parenthood. Almost 6 in 10 women (58%) are either chief or equal wage-earners in their household. And among those who think a parent should stay at home to care for a child, 53% say that caregiver could be the father.

Gen X women are also forging their own paths as entrepreneurs. They are almost as likely as Gen X men to own their own business (25% vs. 29%).

At work as in all areas of their lives, Gen Xers are unconcerned with what’s been done in the past. They’re shaping their careers to align with their own personal goals.

In doing so, they have quietly transformed the world of work.

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