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Older and Younger Workers Take a Critical Look at Each Other

A survey finds a wide divide on perceptions of technology in the workplace



En español | Older and younger office workers tend to have strikingly different — and largely negative — views of each another, according to a new poll of 1,003 business professionals.

The survey, conducted by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a global IT group, found that 64 percent of boomers believe there's some truth in the stereotype that younger workers aren’t as loyal as older ones. Fifty-nine percent of boomers also believe that younger workers feel more entitled, while 44 percent think that younger workers “are not as professional in an office.”

Millennials aren’t quite as judgmental. Even so, 52 percent believe that older workers are too rigid or set in their ways, while 44 percent think they aren’t as skilled in using technology, and 36 percent say older workers are less interested in training than their younger colleagues. 

Members of each age group tended to have a more positive view of themselves. Among millennials, only 40 percent agreed that younger workers feel more entitled, for example, while only 35 percent of boomers agreed that older workers are too rigid.

The two generations also differ over the impact of technology.

Only 37 percent of boomers fear that automation will mean fewer jobs for them, compared with 52 percent of millennials. Yet boomers are less likely to embrace some specific types of automation, with 55 percent saying that using robots to do dangerous work is a mostly positive development, compared with 69 percent of millennials.

Only 46 percent of boomers want artificial intelligence programs to do boring or repetitive work, compared with 55 percent of millennial workers. Forty-two percent of boomers favor factory automation, compared with half of millennials. And 71 percent of millennials versus 53 percent of boomers see technology as a significant factor in how they regard their companies.