A survey by ATB Financial released on Thursday shows that most Albertans feel their generation is worse off than their parents – with the exception of baby boomers.

Rob Roach
ATB Financial

“We sometimes get carried away with generational stereotypes, but it is useful to know how different generations tend to view the world, including the economy and the workplace,” said Rob Roach, author of the Perch study and director of insight at ATB Financial.

“This knowledge helps us understand where the differences lie between the age groups, how they relate to one another and how prevailing attitudes and behaviours might change over time. It’s information that is invaluable for anyone working to strengthen the Alberta economy.

“A majority of respondents across all four generations said they feel money is important to their happiness. Millennials lead the pack with 72 per cent feeling this way, but the boomers are not too far behind at 62 per cent. Still, about two-thirds of each generation also said they value a fulfilling job over a high-paying one.”

The Perch survey found that only 24 per cent of baby boomer respondents feel their generation is worse off than their parents’ generation compared to 61 per cent of generation Xers who feel this way.

ATB said that 65 per cent of respondents under the age of 55 are worried they won’t have enough money when they retire. The percentage is lower among boomers, but 48 per cent still said they worry about not having enough money for retirement.

Some other highlights of the survey include:

  • 88 per cent of boomers agreed that their generation has a strong work ethic; generation Z was 78 per cent of respondents compared to just 48 per cent among generation X and 50 per cent among generation Y;
  • a majority of Albertans surveyed agreed free trade is good for the Canadian economy; boomers were most likely to agree at 79 per cent while generation Xers were least likely at 61 per cent;
  •  talking to people in person or over the phone rather than sending a text or email was preferred by a larger proportion of boomers (58 per cent), with millennial respondents least likely to prefer this option (45 per cent);
  • between 80 and 85 per cent of respondents surveyed across the four generations said they were in favour of flexible work hours and agreed flexibility makes the workplace more productive.

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