To discover more about the different needs and characteristics of coworkers from various age groups, we dissected the results of participants into three groups, 20-34 year-olds, 35-49 year-olds, and 50-64 year olds. Those under 20 and over 64 were left out of the results, as there weren’t enough responses to analyse properly.
The biggest differences are the job titles and roles held by the coworkers. Older coworkers are more likely to be self-employed freelancers, while the younger ones are more often employees of bigger companies. But there are more entrepreneurs with their own small companies in the younger age brackets.
As might be expected, younger coworkers are more tech-savvy than the preceding generation. About 42% of young coworkers are web or IT developers. This percentage descends to 25% for the middle age bracket, and drops to 12% in the older age category. Instead, senior coworkers are more likely to work as consultants, PR experts, designers or journalists.
Coworkers of all ages roughly agree with each other when it comes to their opinions about the most important benefits of coworking. They all find that interaction, flexible worktimes, random discoveries, knowledge sharing and low costs are the greatest benefits, while security, peace and privacy and easily-changed workplaces are the last of their priorities. Older ones are less likely to report improved interaction with other people (77%, compared to 89% for the younger age brackets), but they enjoy a similar level of improved motivation and productivity.
Some major differences were revealed in other characteristics. Youngsters can relax more easily at home after joining a coworking space - 70% report this result, compared to less than 50% of older workers.
But it seems older coworkers can relax more while at work. They are more likely to use a flexible desk, are less likely to require 24-hour access, live closer to their coworking space, and spend less time on each project. By comparison, younger coworkers are more likely to need 24-hour access, a permanent desk, spend more time on each project, and travel further to their coworking space.
One interesting result to end with: it’s not just the younger coworkers who make lots of valuable new acquaintances through coworking. Within two months of joining a space, most young coworkers make an average of six valuable new connections. The middle age bracket reports a slightly lower number of new connections. This rebounds in the older age bracket, who report an average of seven important new connections since joining.
All articles on the Global Coworking Survey:
Start: Why coworkers like their coworking spaces
Part 2: The Coworker's Profile
Part 4: Female coworkers vs. male coworkers
Part 6: MacOS vs. Windows - Firefox vs. Chrome
Part 7: Small Town vs. Big City Coworking
Part 9: North America vs. Europe
Part 10: The changing needs of coworkers over time
Part 11: The strenghts of small and big coworking spaces