What Is the Silent Generation? (With Characteristics)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published June 2, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A generation refers to a group of people who were born during the same period. Of all generations, traditionalists or silent generation members comprise a significant portion of seniors. By learning more about this generation, you can develop healthy relationships with its members and understand how generational differences can help diversify the workplace.
In this article, we discuss the traditionalist generation, describe its members' characteristics, outline generations that come after it, and share jobs for traditionalists.
What is the silent generation?
The silent generation, or traditionalist generation, refers to people born between 1927 and 1945. At 77 to 95 years old, they generally lived through world challenges that helped define their attitudes, mindsets, and core values. For example, many traditionalists believe that you can enjoy a fulfilling career by committing to extended work hours. Many also recommend advancing your career by sustaining productivity, producing results, and gaining valuable experience.
While many traditionalists retire to spend more time with friends and family, others prefer to work part-time. Those who seek employment opportunities typically do so to stimulate their minds, interact with community members, or make extra income.
Characteristics of the traditionalist generation
Here are some common character traits often shared by traditionalists:
Because of the social factors that influenced their upbringing, the silent generation often demonstrates a strong work ethic. They generally believe in working hard to reach short- and long-term goals and pursuing tasks until completion. Many traditionists also believe in self-sacrifice for a worthy cause, which can be valuable to health care establishments and nonprofit organizations.
The traditionalist generation comprises many individuals who are loyal to their employers. They often have many years of employment with an employer and are committed to prioritizing the company's needs. Because of their commitment, traditionalists may also expect the same loyalty from their employers and colleagues. Many value stability and are reliable community members.
The traditionalist generation typically lived through economic uncertainty and financial challenges. This situation defined how many now manage resources, including their finances. For example, they might prefer to repair a faulty item before replacing it. If they decide to work, a traditionalist's thriftiness can benefit organizations looking to spend within allocated budgets.
Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from challenges. Members of the traditionalist generation often demonstrate this quality, which can be valuable to industries with varying market needs. Many traditionalists use their resilience to adapt to changing professional or personal situations.
From their childhood, many traditionists learned to show respect by practising courtesy and deference to authority. They often have well-developed interpersonal skills, which can be beneficial for public-facing roles. As they show others respect, members of the silent generation may also expect customers, employers, family members, and colleagues to show respect.
Because they successfully navigated issues from their childhood, many traditionists seek to maintain system balance. They often prefer to adapt to situations or choose alternatives instead of making sudden changes. For example, they might prefer to stop a task until they confirm it's safe to continue. This trait can make traditionalists suitable for compliance, regulatory, or safety roles.
Many silent generation members value security, consistency, and morals. They generally lived most of their lives without advanced technologies and now require more time and effort to learn how they work. They may also prefer face-to-face communication over virtual interactions and physical workplaces over remote or hybrid work models.
Other essential generations to explore
If you aren't a traditionalist, you're typically a member of one of the following generations:
Baby boomers refer to people born between 1946 and 1964. These individuals learned to become self-sufficient by working hard to achieve their goals. They often value objective and rational decision-making and are competitive. Many baby boomers showcase optimism at work and define themselves by their jobs.
Generation X refers to people born between 1965 to 1980. These individuals are resourceful, independent, and entrepreneurial. They seek a healthy work-life balance and adapt well to changing, informal environments. Because many Generation X members had technologies as children, they're generally comfortable using mobile phones, tablets, and computer systems.
Generation Y refers to people born between 1981 and 1996. These individuals are typically optimistic, entrepreneurial, financially literate, and focused on their goals. Many Generation Y members, or millennials, desire instant gratification and are more socially tolerant than previous generations. They also demonstrate confidence in their abilities and are proficient with new technologies.
Generation Z is the demographic group of individuals born between 1997 and 2010. They also desire instant gratification and thrive on achievements. Generation Z individuals generally expect to work with modern technology, value social interaction, and show entrepreneurial qualities. Because of their expressive nature, they often prefer collaborative work environments. Generation Z individuals are receptive to change and value flexibility in the workplace.
Generation Alpha refers to people born between 2011 and 2025. They're very curious children who use technology frequently. Many researchers expect Generation Alpha to show more resilience than previous generations and be receptive to various policies, such as diversity and inclusion and pay equity.
8 common jobs for traditionalists
Here are popular jobs for traditionalists who want to work after retirement:
National average salary: $54,566 per year
Primary duties: An accountant keeps, interprets, and reports financial records. They ensure a company's financial documents comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Accountants typically prepare tax returns and advise clients on how to reduce business costs, generate more revenue, and maximize profits.
National average salary: $21.31 per hour
Primary duties: A driver transports people or goods to a destination and ensures vehicles have transportation power. For example, they might purchase gas or charge electric vehicles. Drivers can work for limo companies, schools, independent clients, or ride-sharing companies. They often have flexible schedules and interact with different personalities at work.
National average salary: $99,299 per year
Primary duties: A professor educates students in higher education establishments. They typically earn this position after working in education for several years, pursuing advanced degrees and conducting research studies. Professors who are members of the traditionalist generation often have advisory responsibilities and may teach only a few courses.
National average salary: $26.16 per hour
Primary duties: A consultant uses their expertise to help clients solve problems. They may work in various fields, such as health care, management, sales, marketing, banking, or agriculture. They typically help upper management develop strategic plans and may identify process or productivity issues. Many businesses hire consultants to help share their professional experience.
Read more: How to Become a Consultant in 4 Steps
National average salary: $47,910 per year
Primary duties: An insurance agent helps clients choose an insurance policy that best meets their needs, budget, and preferences. These professionals typically contact potential clients, examine client finances, and develop suitable insurance programs. The role also involves maintaining insurance documents and ensuring client confidentiality.
National average salary: $20.12 per hour
Primary duties: A substitute teacher performs the duties of a teacher who's away from work. As temporary teachers, they maintain a fair and respectful classroom environment that fosters productive learning. Substitute teachers typically report to a school administrator or headteacher. Upon completing their duties, they may create reports or provide feedback. Substitute teachers teach subjects related to their field or general subjects, such as English, French, or math.
National average salary: $35.03 per hour
Primary duties: A librarian assists people in finding digital and physical resources in a library. They manage books, video recordings, specialized records, manuscripts, and databases. Librarians may work at schools, colleges, universities, and research institutes. They may also collaborate with other library professionals, such as aides and technicians. Their duties often include ordering resources to keep libraries updated.
8. Pet sitter
National average salary: 16.32 per hour
Primary duties: A pet sitter cares for pets, such as cats, dogs, birds, rodents, and other companion animals. Their job involves tasks such as providing food and water, grooming, administering medicine, walking dogs, and providing companionship and enrichment. Pet sitters typically work part-time hours at their home or a pet owner's place.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on a hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.
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