According to a recently released report, promotion rates for members of Generation X are slowly sliding and eager twenty-somethings may be the ones to blame.

Based on data gathered from Canada’s largest and mid-sized banks, during their “peak years of upward mobility,” Gen X (people born between 1961 and 1981) promotion rates fell from over 11% in 2008 to less than 10% in 2010. Gen Y (born between 1982 and 2000) on the other hand, saw their promotion rates remain steady at just over 20%. The promotion rates of Baby Boomer (born between 1943 and 1960) fell from 5% to 3%.

The report from PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada suggests that Gen X is being “squeezed at both ends,” by younger workers who are aggressively trying to move up the ranks at work and by Boomers who are staying in senior roles longer due to delayed retirement. Additionally, the report suggests that management efforts may be focused on the business of Baby Boomer retirement and the influx of Gen Y employees, thereby causing the “values and desires of their largest, yet often overlooked demographic of employees – Generation X,” to be neglected.

With Gen X making up the core of the banking industry, the report warns that the lack of promotions for this key demographic is bound to hurt the industry.

Adding to the pool of competition for workplace promotions, members of Generation Y are shifting their behavior and staying in their jobs longer. Voluntary Gen Y turnover fell almost a full 10% from 25% in 2006 to 16% in 2010. This decrease in voluntary turnover is attributed to economic volatility and employers’ successful efforts to make the workplace more suitable for Gen Y workers who are prized for being “particularly confident and connected.”

With Gen Y being consistently put down or praised in the press, perhaps the saying that all press is good press is ringing true for twenty-somethings. Whether you love them or hate them, Gen Y is getting attention and they’re using it to get ahead quickly. Look out Generation X.

Gen Xers of all industries, are you feeling the squeeze? Share your experiences with us.


– Nicole Wray

Nicole Wray is a member of Generation Y and a regular contributor to Workopolis.