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Predictors of applicant attraction among Gen-X and millennials: evidence from an emerging economy

Debolina Dutta (Organization Behavior and HR, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore , Bangalore, India)
Sushanta Kumar Mishra (OB and HRM, Indian Institute of Management Indore , Indore, India)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 22 June 2021

Issue publication date: 6 October 2021




A better understanding of applicant attraction enables organizations to manage their talent needs, thus enhancing HR effectiveness. Even though generational difference exists in modern organizations, scholarly work investigating the salient predictors of applicant attraction between the Gen-X and millennial cohorts is missing. The authors attempt to inform the literature by addressing this gap.


The study captures applicant attraction using a survey-based study of 1949 working employees in India, representing Gen-X and millennial generations.


The study provides critical factors that differentially impact millennial and Gen-X members' attraction toward an organization. It also reveals that satisfaction in the current job affects millennials and the Gen-X cohorts differently.

Research limitations/implications

Recruitment research has neglected the predictors of applicant attraction among generational cohorts. Further, studies on generational differences have originated in western contexts and have ignored the emerging economies. Based on the responses of working professionals, our study increases the generalizability of the results.

Practical implications

The multi-generational workplace has the largest proportion of both Gen-X and millennial employees. A deeper understanding of their preferences can help HR practitioners leverage the drivers of applicant attraction. The study provides inputs to design recruitment strategies to target generational groups within and outside the organization.


The present study examines the phenomenon in an emerging market marked by a high economic growth rate and an eastern cultural context. The study presents a more realistic representation of applicant needs by sourcing inputs from working employees across generation groups.



Dutta, D. and Mishra, S.K. (2021), "Predictors of applicant attraction among Gen-X and millennials: evidence from an emerging economy", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 42 No. 8, pp. 1479-1499.



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