Stereotyping and the Changing Workforce

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The changing workforce is an ongoing trend observed in organisational settings throughout the world. However, what is the meaning of this worldwide trend? Changing workforce is an organisation behavioral trend which records a growing increase in the diversity of people in the workforce in various countries. Such diversity includes gender, ethnicity, age, and race (McShane and Travaglione, 2007, Page 8). In this essay, I am going to discuss how the changing workforce influence stereotyping in organisational settings.


Two main groups of people in the workforce now are the Generation X (born 1965- 1979) workers and Generation Y (born 1980-2000) workers, with those born Baby boomer generation making up the rest of the workforce. Generation X workers are more by the book and traditional compared to Generation Y workers. Gen X workers believe in experience over wild ideas and that workers should earn their praise and way up the step ladder. Unlike the Gen X group, typical Gen Y workers are more comfortable with the fast moving IT world and prefer making use of the latest technology in their work compared to the traditional approach passed onto them by their Gen X bosses. Gen Y workers are also less respectful of the pecking order in the workforce preferring to by-pass immediate superiors to get their ideas across to higher authorities. Gen Y workers also wants to know their work is meaningful and have input into big decisions. They also prefer constructive feedback about their suggestions rather then have their suggestions quietly dismissed (Alsop, 2009, Commentary, Page 47). As time goes by, the workforce will soon be dominated by the Generation Y in the near future as the earlier batch of the Generation X workers begin to retire. This is especially true in large multinational businesses. Thus Gen X employees will thus be stereotyped and discriminated against. One common stereotype would be older workers are susceptible to being inflexible and slow in their advancement with the fast paced technologies. Smaller companies on the other hand will tend to value older workers for their experience, low absence rates and low turnover. Thus younger workers in such companies will get stereotyped as “inexperienced and ignorant” (Schermerhorn Jr. et al, 2000, Page 63).


A few decades ago, well paying jobs in the workforce were dominated by the males whereas majority of the females stayed home and fulfill the duties of a domesticated home-maker. This social phenomenon was brought about by limited access to higher education for the females which restricts their entry into the workforce, further forcing the females to become dependent on the men economically. Furthermore, with jobs requiring specialized skills and specific training becoming directly proportional with the employee’s salary, it is becoming inevitable that the only jobs willing to employ females are also the low paying jobs. It is also during this time feminist movement then began to slowly help women attain equal rights in their quest for education and employment as laws were put in placed to protect the rights of females in getting education and equal opportunities in employment, thus more females are in the workforce now as compared to previously. This change in the workforce can be seen from the following quote, “The typical 1950s’ ‘nuclear family’, consisting of a white Caucasian family where dad works 9 to 5 and mum stays home to raise the average 2.4 children, seen as the stereotype in Australia and new Zealand for so long, now accounts for less than 20% of the population” (Robbins et al, 1998, Page 40). However, even as women are being protected by the law which entitles them to equal rights as men when seeking employment, there is still a certain level of discrimination towards women whether it is during the course of applying for a job or by their colleagues and fellow peers. In a study done in the U.S on the effects of how...
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