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X, Y and Boomers come together to discuss generational issues in the workplace

Four of eight panelists at the XYBOOM Conference on May 28 at the Yaletown Roundhouse. Left to right: Heather Hay, Peter Reek, Lynell Anderson, Iglika Ivanova.

With more baby boomers choosing to retire later in life and new graduates finding themselves underemployed and drowning in student debt, the  future for the younger generation doesn’t look too bright. And it doesn’t help that stereotypes and misunderstandings among generations are ever-present in the workplace.

That’s why a diverse group of people from the Baby Boomer generation, Generation X and Generation Y were gathered under one roof at the Yaletown Roundhouse, on May 28, for the XYBOOM conference.

The second annual conference was put together by the XYBOOM Intergenerational Organization with the intent to create a space for all generations to discuss the current socio-economic conditions, generational issues and how they affects the workplace. The conference included two panel discussions and live case studies.

Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, Generation Ys fill out chairs at the Yaletown Roundhouse on May 28 for the XYBOOM Conference.

While last year’s conference debut on youth unemployment was successful, this year’s conference saw a couple of changes. “We wanted it to be really, much more equally intergenerational,” said Director of Communications Yumi Numata.

Although more Boomers and Xers showed up compared to the previous year, Gen Ys still showed up in great numbers. “They’re kind of super hungry to learn from the other generations,” said Numata of what is also known as the Millennial Generation.

When the crowd was asked to name some of the current generational challenges they faced in the workplace, shouts came from all over the room: “Stereotypes!” “Resistance to change!” “Entitlement,” and “hard to talk to each other.”  

These answers only touched on the tip of workplace issues, more of which revealed themselves in the panel sessions, led by Moderator Linda Young, where tricky questions were posed, interesting statistics were brought up and discussion was established.

Panelists Peter Reek, Lynell Anderson, Iglika Ivanova and Moderator Linda Young.

The first panel discussed socio-economic trends and what it means for the future.

One-third of Boomers are postponing retirement beyond 66, according to panelist Heather Hay, executive director of the Vancouver Foundation’s BC Non-Profit Labour Market Program. So while they’re holding on to their positions, new graduates and young workers are frustrated with the lack of jobs available to them.

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