Sue Davies

Generation Y

They're young, smart, brash. They may wear flip-flops to the office and listen to iPods at their desk. They want to work, but they don't want work to be their life.

This is Generation Y, A force of as many as 70 million globaly, and the first wave is just now embarking on their careers - taking their place in a multigenerational workplace.

Get ready, because this generation whose members have not yet hit 30 - is different from any that have come before.

 

generationY.jpgThis age group is moving into the labor force during a time of major demographic change, as companies across the globe face an aging workforce. Sixty-year-olds are working beside 20-year-olds. Fresh graduates are overseeing employees old enough to be their parents. And new job entrants are changing careers faster than they change their fashion, creating frustration for employers struggling to retain and recruit talented high-performers.

Unlike the generations that have gone before them, Gen Y has been pampered, nurtured and programmed with a slew of activities since they were toddlers, meaning they are both high-performance and high-maintenance. They also believe in their own worth.

"Generation Y is much less likely to respond to the traditional command-and-control type of management still popular in much of today's workforce," says Jordan Kaplan, an associate managerial science professor at Long Island University-Brooklyn in New York. "They've grown up questioning their parents, and now they're questioning their employers. They don't know how to shut up, which is great, but that's aggravating to the 50-year-old manager who says, 'Do it and do it now.' "

They are willing and not afraid to challenge the status quo. An environment where creativity and independent thinking are looked upon as a positive is appealing to Gen Y. They are very independent and tech savvy.

A great deal is known about Gen Y:

  • They have financial smarts. After witnessing the financial insecurity that beset earlier generations stung by layoffs and the dot-com bust, today's newest entrants into the workforce are generally savvy when it comes to money and savings. They care about such benefits as super and retirement plans.

Thirty-seven percent of Gen Yers expect to start saving for retirement before they reach 25, with 46% of those already working indicating so.

  • Work-life balance isn't just a buzz word. Unlike boomers who tend to put a high priority on career, today's youngest workers are more interested in making their jobs accommodate their family and personal lives. They want jobs with flexibility, telecommuting options and the ability to go part time or leave the workforce temporarily when children are in the picture.

Change, change, change. Generation Yers don't expect to stay in a job, or even a career, for too long - they've seen the scandals that imploded the likes of Arthur Andersen, and they're skeptical when it comes to such concepts as employee loyalty. A generation of multitaskers, they can juggle e-mail on their BlackBerrys while talking on cellphones whilebrowsing online.

They believe in their own self worth and value enough that they're not shy about trying to change the companies they work for.

All that said and done, I can't help noticing that in the haze of confidence and bullishness there lurks an element of laziness and a far away look in their eyes...................wondering when they will catch their next wave/party....


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Sue Davies Zembi Connect Sue Davies
Company: Zembi Connect
Position: Director
Experienced Executive Search consultant with extensive knowledge of online/interactive/Digital. After 10 years building a Network across the Industry here in Sydney and Globaly I have now formed Zembi Connect allowing like minded people within the Digital/emerging technology World to form successful relationships Read Sue's full bio

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