Perennials: looking beyond generations


Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers are all familiar terms. But have you heard of perennials

The term, originally designated to describe something lasting or existing for a long or infinite time – usually plants and trees – has recently been adopted to denominate a social group that reaches beyond the categories of generations.

Gina Pell, founder of The What, describes Perenials as “ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages. We get involved, stay curious, mentor others, and are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded risk takers who continue to push up against our growing edge and know how to hustle. We comprise an inclusive, enduring mind-set, not a diverse demographic.”

In this article, we will take a look into this concept and explore why hiring perennials can benefit your company.

Generations currently in the job market

Before we get into perennials, here is a rundown of the generations that are currently in the job market:

Baby Boomers

People born between 1945 and 1964 fall into this group. Baby Boomers seek and value personal and professional achievements, and are focused on long term prosperity. This generation also values family and financial stability, being generally risk-averse and disliking change.

Generation X

People born between 1960 and 1970 fall into this group. Gen X is marked by self-sufficient individuals, who view work as a means to achieve material and personal ambitions. Here, there is a more individualistic approach when compared to Baby Boomers. 

Generation Y

Born between 1980 and the mid 90s, Generation Y (or Millennials) have undergone the digital revolution in their childhood and adolescence. It’s also a generation marked by economic and political crisis. In the workplace, they seek flexibility and opportunities for growth, and are more prone to switching jobs than the previous generations.

Generation Z

Born between 1995 and 2010, Generation Z seeks autonomy and is anxious about the future. Gen Z seeks financial freedom and wants to enact change in structures they see as outdated.

Who are the Perennials?

In 2016, the author Gina Pell proposed that grouping people by generation alone was inefficient, as even within the same age group there could be large differences in thought, likes and dislikes. With that in mind, she brought forth the concept of perennials: a group that transcended age barriers, but that had shared values, interests and behaviors.

So what defines perennials? In one word – growth. These people are described as tuned in to world events, passionate about their interests and tech savvy, concerned with how they can learn more and better their lives.

Perennials value comfort, technology and information. To them having a pulse on global politics and current challenges, such as climate change, is extremely important. These are people who are not concerned about “fitting the norm”, and are eager to expand their horizons.

Perennials in the job market

Perennials like to learn new things and collect new experiences, as well as meeting new people. From this, we can gather that they are curious, creative, confident and collaborative, characteristics that can be valuable in the workplace.

The desire to be constantly learning is also an invaluable skill in the current job market, and due to their resilience, perennials are also very productive and deal well with frustration. This can give them an edge when searching for jobs, especially in leadership positions, as they can easily communicate and work with people from different generations.

Why should you hire perennials?

Perennials can stand out in the job market, as they move past generational barriers, being able to work and collaborate with all generations. Furthermore, as one of their characteristics is being tech savvy, they become a great asset to any team as the adoption of new technology and automations are common feature in any modern company.

This propensity to experiment and innovate is also valued by companies who want to stay ahead of the curve and invest in cutting edge technology.

How to attract perennials to your company 

Here are three things perennials value when looking for an employer:

Flexible and remote work

Having the option to work remotely, or simply having more flexibility to work (not stuck on the 9 to 5 model) can be attractive to perennials. This gives them more room to balance their work and personal life, which is a great concern for this group.

Health benefits

Perennials are very aware of how important their health is, and when looking for a job, having access to healthcare and other health related benefits can really make a diference.

Training and development programs

As we have mentioned before, perennials like to constantly learn and have new experiences, and having training programs and clear development plans within the company can unsure they never feel stagnated.

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