Generational Priorities: What Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials Think Makes an Ideal Employer


What aspects do you value most in a life sciences employer? Do they need to provide a competitive salary and compensation plan? Should the organization offer dynamic training and development programs? In an effort to find out what employees value in companies, BioSpace recently surveyed over 2,700 life sciences professionals for the current Ideal Employer Report. A wide variety of attributes were proposed to respondents, who rated how important that area was to them in an employer. This data was analyzed and included in the comprehensive report.

The top five Ideal Employers rated by life sciences professionals are: Genentech, Pfizer, Merck, Amgen and Novartis. Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences and AbbVie complete the list of top ten organizations. The study also revealed many similarities among the predominant generations in the workforce. Baby boomers, Gen-Xers, and millennials all selected Genentech as their top Ideal Employer. Amgen, Merck and Pfizer were all included in each generation’s ranking of the top five organizations. When it comes to specific attributes, having the opportunity to do interesting and meaningful work, securing a competitive salary and having access to quality health benefits were the most important. Here are some differences when it comes to generational priorities.

Baby Boomers

Baby boomers placed more emphasis than other generations on employers providing interesting and meaningful work, in addition to maintaining a good reputation. They didn’t seem as interested in promotional opportunities and career advancement as younger groups. We can infer that this is because they are more established in their careers and probably work in higher levels within their companies. 74% of boomers believed that team dynamics were important and 70% indicated that company culture was meaningful. However, when comparing those aspects to ideal employers only 50% of baby boomers actually consider that to be a strength of organizations who are Ideal Employers.


Gen-Xers tend to share some employment preferences with baby boomers and millennials. Career advancement and opportunities for promotions are significant to Gen-Xers and millennials, who both could be viewed as in their prime earning years. 78% of Gen-Xers said that health benefits are important (the same percentage as boomers), but only 56% think this is a strength of their Ideal Employers. Many Gen-Xers are raising families and caring for older relatives, so health benefits could be a natural priority to them. 71% of Gen-Xers said that retirement benefits were of significance, a higher percentage than other generations.


Millennials ranked having opportunities for promotion higher than other generations, with 81% saying it was important. This is probably due to their younger age and high levels of student loan debt that is prevalent within the generation. Despite the preference for internal advancement, only 49% of millennials view this as a strength among ideal employers. As a generation, millennials also placed a higher value on training and development programs with 69% indicating its importance. In contrast, only 45% of millennials actually think top organizations have these types of programs in place.

The 2019 Ideal Employer Report lists the most desirable organizations to work for, as described by life sciences professionals. There were many similarities and differences highlighted among generations. Surprisingly, all generations ranked Genentech as their Ideal Employer based on various attributes. The same four out of the top five organizations showed up in rankings among baby boomers, Gen-Xers, and millennials. Differing preferences among the importance of certain aspects between generations can be attributed to stage of career and life. There were also significant disparities between level of importance of certain factors and those same factors actually being seen as a strength for an Ideal Employer. What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed between generations at work?

Porschia Parker is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. ( She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.

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