Welcome to Generation Y

Oct 26 2007 by Nic Paton Print This Article

As the reliable, hard-working baby-boomers head off into retirement, managers scrambling to replace them with the so-called "Generation Y" of up-and-coming workers could be in for a shock.

Employers recruiting workers aged under 30 complain they don't take orders well, expect to be paid more, will often demand to be promoted within a year of joining and expect to be allowed to work flexibly.

A survey of more than 2,500 employers and managers by recruitment website CareerBuilder.com has identified stark generational differences between Generation Y and their managers, differences that it argues could be storing up real problems for the future.

Nearly half of the employers surveyed said there was a big gap in communication styles between Generation Y workers and older workers, with Generation Y workers perhaps unsurprisingly communicating much more through technology than in person.

A quarter also said they had different frames of reference, especially around things such as attitudes to pop culture.

But it was when it came to job expectations that the gap turned into a gulf, the survey found.

Nearly nine out of 10 of the hiring managers and HR professionals polled by the recruiters said some or most Generation Y workers felt "entitled" to demand greater compensation, benefits and promotion than older generations.

Nearly three quarters said Generation Y workers expected to be paid more, with six out of 10 complaining they demanded flexible work schedules.

More than half said they expected to be promoted within a year, with a similar percentage saying they also expected more vacation or personal time away from the workplace.

Worryingly for managers, more than half of employers said Generation Y workers had a more difficult time taking direction or responding to authority than other generations of workers.

Lower down the scale, nearly four out 10 said Generation Y workers expected to have access to state-of-the-art technology.

"Generation Y workers are an important segment of the workforce and literally the future of companies and organisations," pointed out Rosemary Haefner, vice president of HR for CareerBuilder.com.

"They grew up in a technology-driven world where standards and norms have changed and often operate under different perspectives than older co-workers.

"As companies cultures evolve with each generation, you see all workers benefiting from a variety of viewpoints and work styles," she added.

Indeed, in an increasingly tight employment market it appears employers have little choice but to bow to these new demands.

Many employers, the survey made clear, were already adjusting how they operated to the arrival of this new generation.

Some 15 per cent said they changed or implemented new policies or programmes specifically to accommodate Generation Y workers.

These included putting in place more flexible work schedules and recognition programmes.

Employers had also invested in more access to state-of-the-art technology, increased salaries and bonuses and implemented more education and training programmes.

Other perks to attract and retain Generation Y workers included paying for mobile phones and blackberries, more telecommuting options and more vacation time, the survey found.


Older Comments

Blame the do gooders who argued against corporal punishment in schools and at home.

A little more discipline, a slightly better education in ethics (especially the work ethic), morals, and perhaps some guidance from parents and teachers might have been useful!

Now it's too late!

You reap what you sow!


Its life. Baby boomers complained about Generation X. Who knows how Generation Y will change the face of business. It is possible that it will turn out to be a good thing.


I'm a Generation Y college student, army wife, mother of two. I found this article while looking up sources for my paper discussing the moral bankruptcy of my generation. While I completely agree with the content of this article I also feel that if you are going to criticize a generation for their shortcomings you should at the very least use spell check or not publish/post your writings.