The generations from the year of birth 1965 to the present day are often compared sociologically. One speaks in this context of the generations X, Y and Z. But not only for sociologists, but also for workers in general, it makes sense to take a closer look at the division of the generations XZ. Many of the ascribed attributes provide information about the role of the corresponding group members within the labor market and in some cases differ greatly from one another. They also give a forecast of future movements in the labor market.

I suspect that in the future it will not primarily depend on what, but that you have studied. By doing this, a graduate proves that they have analytical skills and can solve problems. In addition, the technical permeability could increase. It is conceivable, for example, that a historian works for an insurance company.
Steffen Laick, Head of Recruitment at EY

With this, Laick addresses a pregnancy difference between generation X and the following Y generation.

Klaus Hurrelmann elaborates on this thought much more critically by referring to the importance of degrees in general: “The ‘Ypsiloners’ have the support of their parents, who think: the main thing is Abitur. What you really learn does not matter in terms of content . What counts is the good report. “

Attitude to the world of work

All three generations differ greatly in the way they view work as such. While Generation X primarily has a career in mind and is constantly looking for opportunities for advancement, it is more important for Ypsilons to enjoy their work and to realize themselves in this way. Generation Z, on the other hand, is primarily interested in a strong separation between work and private life. So, in principle, they think little of home office or regular overtime.


As different as their view of working life, the XZ generations differ in terms of their motivation for work. Those who belong to Generation X are usually motivated by the prospect of free work design, professional development opportunities and a good balance between work and private life (work-life balance). The Ypsiloners, on the other hand, orientate themselves towards self-realization, flat hierarchies and networking with other employees and employers. In the Z generation, there is a strong will to develop freely. This also includes potential opportunities to try things out and change course if necessary.


Depending on your age, there are other events that influence and shape your own biography in an individual way. Depending on the generation, different talents and skills are developed to different degrees. The X generation, which was shaped by the fall of the Berlin Wall, for example, shows pronounced pragmatism and independence. The following Y generation experienced the uncertainty caused by global terrorism, but also discovered new opportunities through the digital revolution and the resulting changed conditions in leisure and work. Accordingly, they score above all with a high affinity for technology and expertise in dealing with the new media. The young Generation Z, shaped by globalization, already shines with its international openness and flexibility.


Due to their age and different backgrounds, the XZ generations prefer different communication channels, both professionally and privately. Generation X generally favors telephone and email contact. In addition, there is still communication via SMS. The Y generation is a bit more modern and prefers to use messenger services such as What’s App and social media platforms. Although the majority have not yet arrived on the job market, trends in terms of communication can already be identified among Generation Z as well. This takes place primarily via social media; What’s App is also used in parallel.

salary expectations

Generation X is used to competing hard for jobs. You are ready to take extra efforts and, if necessary, restrictions. Although this group of people also expects to be given the chance to move up to a higher salary bracket, they are generally willing to work temporarily for a lower salary themselves. The Ypsilonians, on the other hand, who attach great importance to their private life, usually have higher salary expectations than the previous generation. This is the only way for them to find enough time for hobbies and leisure activities. Generation Z already knows that there is a shortage of skilled workers in many fields. You don’t have to fight for jobs. Instead, when they enter the world of work, they enjoy the prevailing competitive situation on the part of employers.


Knowing the generation differences is desirable for both employers and employees. The comparison not only helps you to understand your colleagues or employees better, it also helps you to learn from each other in the best possible way. Orientation towards the next generation can, for example, ensure that you will be able to keep up in your job in the future. But older vintages are also valuable due to their wealth of experience. As an employer, you can deploy employees more specifically depending on their generation-typical skills and thus increase the efficiency of your company.


absolventa (2019). Generation XYZ – the overview of the generations on the job market. Available at:

brandeins (2019): GenZ – First the pleasure, then the work. Available at:

German wave (2014). Education as an end in itself: Generation Y.Available at:

Spiegel Media (2019). The generation concept. Available at:

Springer Professional (2019): Corona does not shake Generation Y and Z. Available at: