NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Could Mark Zuckerberg be just the beginning of the 20- or 30-something CEO era?
Possibly, according to new research by the Pew Research Center, which shows just 32% of men ages 49 to 67 — the Baby Boomer generation — and 21% of women in that age group say they want to be the boss eventually. Fortunately, their junior generation — those 18 to 32 years old — are willing to pick up the slack, with 705 of Gen-Y men and 615 of Gen-Y women saying they'd like to be the boss. The study says Boomers have seen the stress and hours related to "getting ahead," and they'd rather be rank and file.
"I think Millennials care more about the appearance of winning or being perceived as successful versus actually being more driven or ambitious than other generations," said Eddy Ricci Jr., 29, who founded his own personal development company, The Growth Game LLC. "I think Millennials have grown up in their career with having more visibility and connectivity to people."
Ricci said Millennials who want to be leaders or want "higher up" jobs are really just thirsty for more independence and professional responsibility. They normally change jobs every three years — probably because of a lack of ownership or impact in their career, he added.
However, it's not just Millennials looking for more professional ownership over projects and tasks. The Pew research shows even Gen X-ers — aged 33 to 48 — are more likely to want a leadership position. The study revealed 58% of Gen-X men and 41% of Gen-X women desire a top job at their place of work, again outpacing the Baby Boomer generation. The research adds the difference in opinions between sexes for Generation X may be due to the fact Gen-X women are among the most likely to have children under the age of 18, which may be a factor in views about how much additional responsibility they would want to take on at work.
The Pew study adds the differences in attitude about getting ahead in the workplace also could be due to where these generations currently fall in the life cycle, noting "young adults are more likely than middle-aged and older adults to say they'd like to be the boss someday — possibly because they have more time ahead of them to reach that goal."
Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success (St. Martin's Press, 2013), however, agrees Millennials may indeed have a different attitude when it come to their work environment, and while many people tend to believe Millennials are impatient and feel entitled, it may be they are looking for more.
"Millennials are looking for major changes in the workplace, and they know that through management roles they can be the driver of these changes," Schawbel said.
Nevertheless, Ricci said he believes wanting to be a leader comes from a few things no matter what generation — such as upbringing, having proper mentors and a passion for making a difference.
"I don't care if you were 28 in 2013 or 28 in 1913," Ricci added. "I think this whole 'boss' statistic where Boomers don't want leadership positions compared to Millennials can be more of a career timing piece instead of a generational piece. Boomers might have different priorities and see their career as a piece in the big picture of life. For many Millennials, at this stage in the game, their career or future career is their life.
—Written by Chris Metinko for MainStreet