The Great Workplace Wiki Divide?

Last Updated Mar 28, 2007 5:34 PM EDT

A recent BusinessWeek article drew a line between employees who use Wikis and other Web-based tools (young) and those who don't (old), and asked if senior managers were ready for the influx of 80 million Net Generation workers. Their position:

Wikis, blogs, and other tools will arrive in the workplace whether companies are ready or not, as younger employees tend to develop their own self-organized networks that cut across traditional corporate divisions. Increasingly these employees will be capable of interacting as a global, real-time workforce.

To drive their point home, the article claims, "Much of this is due to a younger generation of workers who embrace Web-based tools in a way that often confounds older workers."

While BusinessWeek points to the technology dividing the generations, several media outlets wrote about a recent study on the effects of the aging workforce on American businesses. According to

Over the next decade, there will be a significant change in the demographics of America's workforce as baby boomers continue to retire, leaving younger workers with less experience to fill their place -- and leaving many businesses unprepared.

It may appear that businesses aren't ready for either the arrival of a new generation of workers or the departure of an experienced workforce, but perhaps these "problems" are actually pointing to possible solutions. Social networking sites like MySpace have seen a significant shift in user demographics, with huge growth (41%) in the 35-54 age range in 2006. Aging workers may not be the early adopters, but it appears they aren’t willing to be left behind, either.