Does the Way You Job Hunt Show Your Age?

job hunting by generationHere’s another interesting post from our friends at The Fiscal Times. Check it out: 

How you search for a job depends a lot on your age. A new study out today, The Multi-Generational Job Search by Millennial Branding, a research and consulting firm, and, a career network, highlights job search commonalities and differences among Gen Y, Gen X and baby boomers.

RELATED: Gen Y vs. Boomers: Workplace Conflict Heats Up

Over 5,000 job seekers in total were surveyed, including 742 18-29 year olds (Gen Y), 1,676 30-47 year olds (Gen X), and 2,850 48-67 year olds (baby boomers). The study found a number of similarities in how the three generations approach searching for work: All spend the majority of their time looking online, most favor online job boards, and on average, all three groups spend between 5-20 hours a week looking. More than a third manage their online work histories, fewer than 15% have their own professional websites, and all generations use social media in some form–but Twitter is the least popular job search tool for everyone.

The similarities stop there. Here’s a look at how the three groups differ:


Gen Y, also known as millennials, is more optimistic about finding a job, values workplace flexibility, and is more likely to plan to go back to school instead of continuing their search. They’re also seeing more results: 33% of millennials said they were able to find employment in less than one month, compared to 29% of Gen X and 24% of boomers. Aside from requiring lower salaries, they may be bagging jobs because they’re prepping more – 68% said they practice interview questions before an interview, whereas only 60% of Gen X and just 52% of boomers said the same.

RELATED: The 10 Highest-Paying Companies for Millennials

When it comes to social media, not surprisingly more Gen Y’s (21%) choose Facebook as their first choice when job searching than Gen X (15%) or boomers (10%), and they are also more aware of their online reputations: 47% of Gen Y’s search to find out what’s being said about them, compared to 38.8% of Gen X and 35% of boomers. Gen Y is also the most likely to follow and interact with the company’s social media profiles.

As for what they are looking for in a potential employer, millennials have high expectations. Location is the most important factor to them (59% said so), closely followed by meaningful work and job security (57%). A higher salary is also a bigger priority for Gen Y (41%) than Gen X (37%) or boomers (27%).


Gen X has the most angst about looking for work. Seventy-two percent of this group are stressed and frustrated, more so than boomers (69%) and Gen Y (61%). What’s on Gen X’s wish list for that ideal job? Sixty five% said job security, while 62% said employee benefits like health care and 55% said location.

RELATED: Gen X Disproportionally Affected by the Recession

Gen X isn’t content to wait for an employer forever. Thirty-six percent said they have considered starting their own business instead of continuing their job search, compared to 35% of boomers and 31% of Gen Y.


Surprisingly, boomers spent the most time on social networks of all three generations. “Baby boomers job search online the most and use social networks, especially LinkedIn when conducting a search,” says Dan Schwabel, founder of Millennial Branding.

Ninety-six percent of boomers are conducting a job search online, compared to 95% of Gen X and 92% of Gen Y. More boomers choose job boards as their primary resource in the job hunt (87%), compared to 82% of Gen X and 77% of Gen Y.

RELATED: The 50-Year-Old Intern: Boomers Go Back to the Bottom

Boomers, though, are having the toughest time getting a job. Twenty-five percent have been job searching for over a year (compared to 17% of Gen X and 10% of Gen Y). Boomers feel like they’re being singled out because of their age – 65% said they suffer from age discrimination, compared to only 22% of Gen X and 21% of Gen Y.

It’s not as if boomers aren’t giving it their all. They were most likely to prepare for interviews by reviewing the company’s website (85%), and more likely to search for news related to the company they are interviewing with (64%), followed by Gen X (58%) and Gen Y (53%). Boomers, however, were least likely to say they would consider going back to school than continuing their job search (23%), compared to 35% of Gen X and 48% of Gen Y.

More From The Fiscal Times

10 Top-Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a BA Degree
It’s Madoff All Over Again: Iowa Man Steals $400M
10 Ways Your Office Will Be Different in 5 Years

  • mschlo

    These numbers don’t add up to 100% in any category.  What is this?  Why is it written like this? “What’s on Gen X’s wish list for that ideal job? Sixty five% said job security, while 62% said employee benefits like health care and 55% said location.”

    Then for Boomers, the statistics claimed in the article are different than the comparative data for other generations: ”Boomers, however, were least likely to say they would consider going back to school than continuing their job search (23%), compared to 35% of Gen X and 48% of Gen Y.” 

    How many Gen Y gave job security as priority?   Does this article claim that zero percent of the Generation Y population that took the survey (wherever this survey was conducted) that marked job security as top priority?

    Maybe LearnVest can hire some unemployed person like me to help make sure the articles used are relevant and make sense.   This one just doesn’t add up. 

    • Daniel

       It makes sense, mschlo.  They aren’t supposed to add up to 100%.  Your first example, “What’s on Gen X’s wish list for that ideal job?”, survey respondents must have been able to check more than one characteristic as important for their ideal job.  65% said job security was important.  62% said employee benefits were important (yes, including some of the same people who checked job security).  Etc.  There may have been a limit to the number of boxes they could check, but that limit clearly wasn’t one, nor would one expect it to be from the way the question was phrased.

      Similarly, in your second example, the numbers that would add up to 100% would be (for any ONE generation) how many said they would consider going back to school (23% of baby boomers) and how many would NOT consider going back to school (presumably, 77% of baby boomers.)  They didn’t explicitly list the second number, because they assume you’re smart enough to figure it out.  There’s no reason the percentage of people considering school in each of three generational categories ought to add up to 100%.

      Maybe you could consider the ways that the numbers OUGHT to add up before complaining that they don’t.

    • Had to say something

      Mschlo maybe you are unemployed because you can’t even read an article and make sense of it correctly.
      The percentages are of each group individually.  In other words job security, employee benefits and location were overall the top 3 most important things to Gen X.  They do not need to add up to 100%. It is the percentage of survey respondents in that age group who said that factor was important to them.  Why don’t you use your time more wisely to look for a job, rather than criticize LearnVest when they did a fine job reporting the statistics; apparently it’s just over your head.