What’s Your Generational IQ?

I’ve long argued that in terms of overall intelligence, individuals in the recruiting and talent acquisition domain make up one of the smartest subsets of professionals in the broader business arena. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about innate logical intelligence, which typically is associated with abilities relative to mathematics or formulating and proving hypothesizes or quantifying things. Nor am I specifically referencing any of the other 8 specific domains of intelligence, which include:

  1. Musical–rhythmic and harmonic
  2. Visual–spatial
  3. Verbal–linguistic
  4. Bodily–kinesthetic
  5. Existential – ability to tackle deep questions about life/existence
  6. Interpersonal (knowing others and their motives)
  7. Intrapersonal (knowing oneself)
  8. Naturalistic
  9. (Logical – mathematics)
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No, I would submit that recruiters possess a great deal of “g factor” or general intelligence that is a blend of different spheres of intelligence.

But, back to the title of this particular Blog, “What’s Your Generational IQ?” You’ll get a chance to test your knowledge in a moment, but first let me state that in my estimation, a big part of effective recruiting is grounded in having a comprehensive understanding for the overall marketplace.

If you have any hope of deploying a thoughtful recruiting strategy, you better know your market, as well as any factors that might impact your ability to engage the talent base that aligns with your organization’s openings. This, of course, includes having some baseline appreciation for the generational cohorts that comprise an ever evolving workforce.

So, get yourself a pen and paper, and take the following super-short quiz to gauge your depth of knowledge regarding demographic and generational trends.

Consider the following questions – and no googling for answers, please!: So, let’s start out with an easy one –

Question 1: What’s the estimated population of the USA? (or, if you are Canadian: What’s the estimated population of Canada)?

Question 2: What Population Cohort comprises the largest percentage of participants in the workforce? (Choose One: Baby Boomer, Generation-X, Millennial, Generation Z)

Question 3: True or False: It’s estimated that 70,000 Baby Boomers will retire from the workforce every week for the next 700 Weeks?

Question 4: The percentage of 6 – 9 year olds (members of Generation Z) who have a mobile phone is presently estimated to be: (Choose One: 10%, 15%, 18%, 22%)?

Question 5: True or False: Research suggests that approximately 79% of Generation Z experiences emotional distress when kept away from mobile devices?

So, let’s see how you did.

Question 1: What is the current population of the US? And/or Canada? Well, it’s estimated that the USA has a population of roughly 323 Million people and that Canada has about 36 Million residents. And incidentally, the USA is now ranked as the world’s 3rd most populous country, behind only China and India. For the purposes of this exercise, if you guessed anything over 300 Million for the USA or 30 Million for Canada, give yourself credit for having gotten the question right.

Question 2: What Population Cohort comprises the largest percentage of participants in the workforce? This one is interesting – prior to 2015, the correct answer would have been Baby Boomers, but in July 2015, according to Pew Research, Millennials became the generational cohort with the largest percentage of overall workforce participation. So, if you chose millennials, give yourself credit.

Question 3: It’s estimated that 70,000 Baby Boomers will retire from the workforce every week for the next 700 Weeks?  This is absolutely true and somewhat staggering. It’s estimated that roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers are leaving the workforce on a daily basis. It will be interesting to see how this reality impacts a number of market sectors that are already facing a shortfall of available talent. So again, the answer here is true.

Question 4: The percentage of 6 – 9 year olds (members of Generation Z) who have a mobile phone is presently estimated to be: (Choose One: 10%, 15%, 18%, 22%)? If you guessed 22%, you are correct. And, by the way, members of Generation Z have never known a world without mobile phones.

Question 5: Research suggests that approximately 79% of Generation Z experiences emotional distress when kept away from mobile devices? If you guessed that this was true, you are correct. And incidentally, it’s estimated that the average member of Generation Z has an attention span of 8 seconds – both fascinating and a little unnerving.

So, how did you do? If you got all 5 questions right, take a screen shot of this gold star – you can print it out later and display it like a badge of honor.

If you got 4 out of 5, slap yourself on the back, you are officially better than average!

If you got 3 out of 5, don’t despair – I guarantee that there are people who did worse than you did!

If you got only 1 or 2 out of five – well, there’s always next time.

All kidding around aside, if nothing else, I hope that this post has served as food for thought. While the focus of this blog was simply to address some interesting demographic trends and statistics, in future posts I’ll explore what research now suggests about the work life preferences of each generational cohort, which are of great consequence to organizations trying to attract quality people.

Until next time, this is Paul Siker wishing you ongoing success.