Are Gen Xers Better as Employees or Contractors?

A recent article by Harvard Business Review focuses on how employers can retain their Generation X talent, but it appears that many workers from this generation may be better suited for contract assignments.

According to the article, 70% of Gen Xers surveyed by the Center for Talent Innovation stated that they perfer to work indpendently.  Consider the following quotes from workers interviewed for the survey:

  • "Once I've learned my job, I like to move on."
  • "I need something new to keep things fresh."
  • "If it's the right thing, I'd jump. I won't stop learning or growing just to have a job."

The article recommends that, in order to retain these employees, employers should invest in mentoring programs and allow employees to rotate through different types of jobs. Another option is for these workers to consider contract assignments. Contracting would allow them to try different companies, projects, industries, and job functions. 

Do you have Generation X candidates who have a lot of talent but seem restless and easily bored?  If so, you may want to encourage them to consider contract assignments.  By placing them in positions that meet their career goals, you could find yourself a quality pool of contract candidatesthat will come to you again and again for more contract opportunities.

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

Views: 58

Tags: Candidates, Generations

Comment by Maisha Cannon on March 29, 2012 at 5:45pm

Debbie,

As a Gen X'er, I have to agree with the survey's findings. The challenge for driven Gen X'ers though, is that short term contract work doesn't always come with benefits. It would be interesting to find a happy medium for the independent workers who desire career progression but also security in the form of health care, retirement planning, etc. Mentoring and entrepreneurial opportunities are key. Thanks for the post!

Comment by Debbie Fledderjohann on April 2, 2012 at 9:03am
Hi, Maisha,
Thanks for the comment.  That type of situation, where the worker has some independence but still has the security of benefits, does exist. When a recruiter places them in a contract assignment, they can become a W-2 employee of a contract staffing back-office and receive benefits, a regular paycheck, direct deposit, etc., through that back-office.  That is actually the model under which Top Echelon Contracting operates. We offer a full menu of benefits, including medical and 401(k) to contractors placed with us through independent recruiters.

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