Published on January 25th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson


The Generation Y workforce: Changing the workplace and work attitudes

With every generation our workplaces change, it is inevitable and a just a normal part of a society getting use to having to bring the past and the present – and to a growing degree, the future – into an environment where people can work together.

From the factory floors to the high tech server farmers we have seen this happen but this time around there is a difference as the commonly referred to Generation Y starts making it into the workforce in growing numbers. As noted by Ekaterina Walter in a post at The Next Web with over 50% of the world’s population being under 30 years old Generation Y is the first generation that has literally grown up with technology being an integral part of their lives.

Even more importantly though is that they are digital natives who live much of their social lives online and don’t consider it to be unusual or out of place – it is just another facet of their lives and who they are. It is this attitude and behavior that is having an impact on their workplaces along with what their expectations regarding their jobs are; and unlike previous generations money is no longer a prime motivator.

In a recent post at the ZDnet Between the Lines blog they talked about the recent report from Cisco that was a part of their larger Connected World Report and had to do with Generation Y and their place in the workforce:

  • 40 percent of college students and 45 percent of young employees would accept a lower-paying job if it had more flexibility on device choice, social media access, and mobility than a higher-paying job with less flexibility.
  • 64 percent of college students would ask about social media usage policies during job interviews, and one in four overall (24 percent) said it will be a key factor in determining whether or not to accept an offer.
  • 41 percent of young professionals said their companies marketed a flexible device and social media policy to recruit and attract them.
  • More than half of college students globally (56 percent) replied that if they encountered a company that banned access to social media, they would either not accept the job offer or would join and find a way to get around it anyway.
  • 29 percent of college students believe that once they begin working, it will be their right –- not just a privilege –- to be able to work remotely with a flexible schedule.

These findings where further backed up by a study from Millennial Branding and that found:

  • 80% of Gen-Y list at least one school entry on their Facebook profiles, while only 36% list a job entry. They define themselves by their colleges instead of their workplaces.
  • They spend an average of just over 2 years at their first job. They are job hopping multiple times in their careers.
  • Only 7% of Gen-Y works for a Fortune 500 company because startups are dominating the workforce for this demographic in today’s economy. If large corporations want to remain competitive, they need to aggressively recruit Gen-Y workers. Gen-Y will form 75% of the workforce by 2025 (by Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation) and are actively shaping corporate culture and expectations. Big corporations can’t afford to be left behind.
  • “Owner” is the fifth most popular job title for Gen-Y because they are an entrepreneurial generation. Even though most of their companies won’t succeed, they are demonstrating an unprecedented entrepreneurial spirit. Companies need to allow Gen-Yers to operate entrepreneurially within the corporation by giving them control over their time, activities and budgets as much as possible.

Interestingly the study also found that the travel and hospitality industry is the largest employers of Gen-Y candidates because of the difficulty these young people are having in finding jobs so they turn to bartending and waitressing.

Additionally the US Military is the largest Gen-Y employer overall and Deloitte is the largest corporate employer of Gen-Y’ers.

image courtesy of The Next Web



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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

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