Gen ” Y ” are we changing the workplace?
Is the workplace changing ?
Were you born between 1982 and 2000? This group, 80 million strong worldwide, which includes pre-teens to twenty-somethings, is known as Generation Y.
Before Gen Y, or Millenials as they are sometimes called, came Generation X (1965 – 1981) and Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964). As we approach 2015, more than half of the Boomers will exit the workforce leaving Gen X’ers to take their place and Gen Y’s to enter. How will this affect Canadian work environments? More importantly, how will this affect you, as a young employee just entering the workforce?
“Gen Y’s are typically very tech savvy, centred around social media, and are more concerned with worklife balance than they are with job security” said Ivana Gill, Senior Recruiter at Miles Recruitment Group in Vancouver.
“It’s important for employers to understand what matters to this generation and adjust accordingly” said Gill.
“This generational shift can sometimes be frustrating to Boomers because it can seem like Gen Y’s are demanding everyone to change to accommodate them, but in reality, they’re demanding only that the workplace reflect their values” continued Gill.
Boomers and Gen X’ers can survive in a more traditional work environment, with structured hours and consistent policies while Gen Y’s won’t fair as well under the rigidity and prefer more flexible hours and casual settings which include banishing the dress code. Gen Y’s are creative, hard workers with innovative ideas, but they’re not workaholics and more likely to change jobs more frequently.
“When I get a job I think everyone should be allowed to use their phones [at work], like when it’s not busy” said New Westminster Secondary grade 11 student, Mike Nitkovitch, 17.
Round the clock access to high tech gadgets allows Gen Y’s to work anywhere, anytime, blurring the line between work and play. In addition, Gen Y’s need to sense that they belong to the organization and prefer to work with others not for them, disregarding top-down management completely. This generation also thrives in team-based environments with lots of interaction and contact as opposed to working on their own.
Gen Y’s need for recognition for their work is among their most important values. This is not limited to monetary or material incentives or rewards such as ipods, concert tickets or gift certificates, but also includes acknowledgment amongst their peers or managers. Being obsessed with personal growth and naturally very results-oriented, Gen Y’s also need constant feedback to know “how they’re doing” at all times.
“Idealism and social issues such as family care and the environment will be one of the most important things employers will face when trying to recruit younger workers” said Gill.
This means many organizations will also have to rethink their stance on environmental issues in order for Gen Y’s to even consider working for them.
“I’m just excited about getting my first job, I’ll take what they give me, and I think it’ll be fun!” said Emily Natchev, 15, grade 10 student at New Westminster Secondary school.
Before too long, she’ll be the boss.