Most executives agree that today’s workforce is made up of distinct groups, defined by demographics.

Canadian CFOs who took part in a Robert Half Management Resources survey say they see the greatest generational differences when comparing employees’ communication and technical skills (44% and 17%, respectively, see this as the major divider) and their adaptability to change (18% say this is the greatest difference between generations).

In comparison, 16% of respondents see no major disparities between workers of different ages.

Still, research conducted by Robert Half and Enactus highlights the following key distinctions between baby boomers (1946-1964), gen Xers (1965-1977), gen Y (1978-1989) and gen Z (1990-1999).

Communication styles: Baby boomers tend to be more reserved, while gen Xers favour direct and upfront discussions. For their part, gen Y staff prefer a collaborative approach and gen Z workers favour in-person interactions over, for example, email exchanges.

Adapting to change: Gens Xers and gen Y staff see change as a vehicle for new opportunities, while Gen Z workers see change as a staple of the workplace.

Technical skills: Employer-backed training is expected by workers of all ages. But while baby boomers and gen Xers value traditional instructor-led courses and self-learning tools, younger workers prefer technology-centric options.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in Canada.

For more on demographics, read:

Why more Canadians are making less than average wage

Long live the retirement-age entrepreneur

7 economic trends to watch

How aging populations are affecting global growth