Why You Should Hire Gen X Salespeople

Sales is considered one of the hardest roles to hire for. With all the attention focused on attracting and hiring Millennials, Gen Xers (those born between the early 1960s to early 1980s) tend to get lost in the conversation. But if you’re hiring salespeople and not considering Generation X, you’re ignoring 32% of the workforce.

Gen X are 32% of the workforce

Research has found Gen Xers possess some surprising qualities that make them ideal salespeople.

Gen X salespeople are educated

According to Burning Glass, 56% of job postings for sales reps require a bachelor’s degree, but only 43% of salespeople have one. In a study by Professor DelVecchio, 60% of the Gen X salespeople have a college degree, whereas 29% of Baby Boomer salespeople do.

Gen X salespeople are experienced

A survey by Professor Bristow and colleagues find that 33% of Gen X salespeople had 1-4 years of work experience compared to 22% of Millennial salespeople.

Gen X salespeople are loyal

In DelVecchio’s study, 21% of Gen X salespeople had switched into their current sales role from another organization, whereas 48% Baby Boomer salespeople had switched organizations into their current role.

So contrary to popular stereotype, this data suggests that when Gen X salespeople find the right fit, they remain loyal to their company.

Gen X salespeople are motivated by achievement

The Bristow et al. study found that compared to Millennial salespeople, Gen X salespeople are more motivated by (1) recognition by their colleagues and supervisors; (2) a sense of achievement; (3) opportunities for advancement; and (4) personal development of new skills and abilities.

The bottom line

When it comes to hiring, research suggests generational differences are more hype than reality. For example, the DelVecchio data demonstrate that Gen X and Baby Boomer salespeople use technology at similar rates.

Often ignored, Gen Xers may be the ideal sales candidates. They’re nearly as tech-savvy as Millennials and have the experience to fill more senior-level roles as Baby Boomers continue to retire.

What are you doing to attract and hire Gen X salespeople at your company? Let me know in the comments.


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Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices in data-based recruitment. She writes about research and trends in talent acquisition, recruitment tech, and people analytics.
Ji-A Min