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Forgotten Gen Xers: What Motivates the 'Sandwich Generation'

Need a break from all the attention that Millennials get? If so, there's another cohort that could use some love: Generation Xers.

"Gen Xers" were born from the mid-1960s through the 1970s. They make up the second-largest share of the U.S. workforce and command the third-largest segment of the country's population. Moreover, they are helping to effect a major workforce transition.

"There is a massive demographic shift underway in the workplace," said Kip Kelly, director of marketing and public programs for the Executive Development unit of the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School. "In less than 10 years, Millennials will represent 75 percent of the global workforce. Every day, the workforce is becoming more diverse than ever before, with several generations working side by side. Generation X is in a unique position to lead, serving as a bridge between Baby Boomers and Millennials."

Although they comprise a smaller group between two larger generations, Gen Xers – aptly described as the "Sandwich Generation" – are taking on a central role in the workforce despite receiving less attention than other cohorts, said Stefani Yorges, Industrial/Organizational Psychologist and head of the West Chester, Pa., leadership development company Leading Higher.

"Gen Xers … are gaining influence in the workplace as Boomers retire in increasing numbers," Yorges said. "The fact that they are the 'Sandwich Generation' affects Gen X. They often feel invisible. Because their generation is significantly smaller than other generations, they have often been overlooked by the media and society."