When I discovered Deloitte has someone in charge of figuring out how to recruit and retain the new workforce, I knew I had to talk with him. It’s Stan Smith, and his title is Director of Next Generation Initiatives. I was amazed to hear how forward thinking he is in an industry known for being old and stodgy.

Based on his research, he wrote a paper called Connecting Across Generations in the Workplace. I could reference that paper every day. Here are some gems:

Gen X will finally have their moment: The shrinking workforce actually creates more demand for Gen-X than Gen-Y. The baby boomer retirement will create a 2% drop in the workforce among 24-34 year olds, and a 31% drop among 35-45 year olds.

Women will drive change in the consulting business: Women have more consulting-oriented skills than men do, they will make up the more than 60% of the workforce by 2010, and they will only work at companies that accommodate their need for flexibility.

Deloitte backs up the revolution with data: Deloitte’s data shows it is men and women in Generation X and Y. “The real revolution is a decrease in career ambition in favor of family time, less travel, and less personal pressure.”

I wrote about Stan in Time magazine, I wrote about him in the Boston Globe, and I put the articles on my blog, and every time I’d mention him, there was no link, which is so annoying to me. I scoured the web for a link to his paper, and I looked for his bio. Nothing.

I am not the only online publisher who is annoyed. I wrote about his study for my Yahoo Finance column that runs tomorrow, and my editor emailed me: “Why are you linking to Deloitte’s home page? Where’s the study?”

Nowhere, of course. Well, on Stan’s desk, probably. And in a lot of CEOs’ in boxes. But not online. And to a significant portion of the world, if it’s not online, it doesn’t exist.

So I’ve solved the problem. You can now download Connecting Across Generations in the Workplace right here. And I think this encapsulates where we are in the publishing world: A blogger publishing a document from the Fortune 500 in order to be able to link to it from future blog posts.

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21 replies
  1. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly: if something isn’t available online, it often might as well not exist.

    It’s not just true for documents, it’s true about ideas, information, organizations, companies, rules, advice, you name it.

    Here’s how this looks in my regular workday. When a co-worker says “What’s the rule for how to punctuate degree titles,” I look it up at AP online. I don’t pick up my AP Stylebook, even though it’s sitting within reach. It’s out of date anyway.

    When we want to know what to do about a severe sunburn, we go to WebMD. When we want to know how long your company is open or how to call for reservation at your small fine dining restaurant, if we can't find the info online, we just look up a competitor and use them instead.

    Another great example is this blog itself. I heard about the book Brazen Careerist before I started reading the blog. But, I got to know the author and her ideas through the blog. Since then, I’ve gone out and bought the book.

  2. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    The only concern with providing the document might be copyright. As a published author I’m sure you are aware of that…

    * * * * * * *
    Maybe I should have been more clear. I had the document for a while, but I couldn’t put it online because of copyright issues. Then Deloitte gave me approval to post it on Brazen Careerist.


  3. Jake
    Jake says:

    Thank you for posting this. Although I still have difficulty defining which generation I am a part of (right in between X and Y) and dislike broad generalizations, the information he presents is right on. Penelope – Your realistic insight is a constant reminder of what’s now.

  4. JoeB
    JoeB says:

    Professional curiosity,
    Did you receive permission to republish Smith’s paper? If so, great. If not, a little education on innocent infringement might be in order. The fact that it is not published online by Smith might be purposeful.

    * * * * * *
    Yes. See my response above.

  5. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    Great data. I find the women in consulting tidbit particularly interesting. My friends and I were just discussing how women are the new men!

  6. MCW
    MCW says:

    Yup, give Deloitte credit — they’ve been fairly forward looking on these issues (esp considering the industry they’re in — big consulting firms generally don’t have a reputation for accommodating people for any reason — consulting has traditionally been up-or-out). Deloitte’s Women’s Initiative is also a neat program. They also have a good alum outreach / networking program. (Caveat: I’m an Deloitte alum.)

  7. Brett
    Brett says:

    Do you agree with Smith’s assertion that labor market is actually shrinking? Although there may be fewer Americans in a particular age group to make up the “work force”, I think that we can expect a huge influx of foreign talent that could easily make up for the retiring baby boomers. Especially in light of ‘globablization’ and the very technology that will allow us Americans to take advantage of telework and flexible scheduling. (Now, foreign workes don’t have to immigrate here to work here.)

    Although I agree that generation Xers will have their moment (I’m a 30 year-old professional), I think it will be as competative as ever as we are forced to compete with the entire world. I think that, given the availability of cheap, highly-skilled workers in such places as India and China, employers may actually encounter more of a BUYERS market – forcing us workers to be a little LESS brazen. I think it’s dangerous to assume that generation x’ers will be able to call the shots in the near future based strictly on U.S. demographics.

    I’m just picturing a young guy like myself trying to negotiate a flexible work schedule and other finges “on my own terms” based on this study only to be fired in favor of the guy with a comparable education and experience willing to work for 1/3 my salary remotely from India.

    * * * * * * *
    Brett, you ask a lot of interesting questions.

    I think the baseline assumption here is that gen-Xers won’t take jobs that involve 60-hours a week, tons of travel, things like that. So, those jobs will need to be split up. A lot of X-ers will drop out or cut back drastically for time with their kids. And women, especially, in gen X are starting businesses at a very high rate — mostly sole-proprietarships in order to get control over their time.

    So, with all this, the members of gen-X who are aiming for a big title and a big salary won’t have tons of competition from their peers because only a minority will want that.

    No matter what generation we are, we all need to figure out how to get skills that cannot be duplicated by people living in much cheaper labor markets. It’s not impossible, but it takes some conscious planning.

    That’s my piece, for now. I’d love to know what other readers think about the questions Brett raises.
    — Penelope

  8. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    And that is why I faithfully read your blog! This is already on its way out to my colleagues.

    Thank you – you are among the best.


  9. Javier Mendoza
    Javier Mendoza says:


    I’m writing from Spain, and here it is my little opinion about how things are changing and how companies are trying to manage them.

    It is obvious that Spanish market is far away from American, but I think that the generational issue is happening here also.

    The main problem is that companies are not aware of this (I think that neither Deloitte Spanish branch is). Anyway we can take American market as a reference, so I hope we can see those changes in company management not so far away.

    Congrats for this blog, thanks for this information and sorry about my English!

    PS: I am going to review this in my blog. With a little luck any Spanish company will read about it…

  10. Wisconsinite
    Wisconsinite says:


    What other work has this author “published”? Because it is published, is it true? W. Stanton Smith has an amazing LACK of refereces for “facts” that he presents in his diatribe. You may have well as published this paper from the beach volleyball court, Penelope, for the lack of refences to verifiable facts. This is the difference between what you want to be true and scholarly work.

    * * * * * *
    The issue you bring up is really one of trust. Here’s something to think about: The New York Times has been publishing forever without linking to their primary source, but bloggers almost always link. So do you trust bloggers over the NYT?

    I trust Deloitte for their ability to do good reserach, so I trust that if Stan publishes a document, the reserach is good. But in the end, if you read this blog, you have to give me a little trust. Even if I link to all my sources, you’re not going to read them all. So on some level, you are trusting me. We cannot all do background checks on all the information we gather– it’s not practical or necessary. So we pick and choose who we’re going to trust. On human resource issues I’m a good judge about whose information to trust, and I trust Deloitte’s.


  11. Rita
    Rita says:

    I work with CPA firms and CPA associations (non-Big 4). While this is good information, it appears to be a lot of what Claire Raines published in 2002 in her article, Managing Millennials.

    All Boomer CPAs who are partners in firms need to be more aware of these points. Many in local and regional firms have misconceptions about the Millennials.

    Thanks for featuring this topic. I am a new reader of your Blog.

  12. Daniel Dessinger
    Daniel Dessinger says:

    The quote, "The real revolution is a decrease in career ambition in favor of family time, less travel, and less personal pressure,” is so true.

    I’m working hard to set some investments in motion so that by the time I reach 40 (ten years from now), I am sitting on a beach with my wife and kids and doing minimal work (blogging and writing a book or two at my own pace).

    The most ridiculously amazing part of my (and your) industry is that we can work from the virtual office. People like Andy Hagans can become nationally renowned for SEO and web marketing while they’re sippin’ margaritas in the Caribbean.

    While I do not know what the future holds, I am excited by the dream of rest and relaxation. I am a Renaissance man at heart, stifled by the cares of the world. It is the return to the arts and literature and the sound of the ocean which motivate and time with my children that motivates me to do now so I can rest later.

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