Understanding the Ys
Generation Y, or that segment of the population born between 1980 and 1995 (depending on where you draw the lines), is a distinct lot. Much has been written on this unique cohort, most of it unflattering. Labelled “trophy kids” and “the overscheduled generation,” this band of fast-talking, digitally fluent, socially engaged, texting, tweeting, technologically proficient multitaskers has been accused of a multitude of sins.
They have short attention spans, they insist upon instant gratification, they’re praise junkies, they lack ambition, they’re high maintenance, they swing a big entitlement bat. Etcetera.
Either way, these whippersnappers are the ones who’ll be running your companies and funding your retirement.
Eep. Better get to understanding them.
Some useful datapoints:
• Playtime isn’t negotiable. Gen Yers have been raised to believe that a dynamic balance between industry and play is a right. According to research by American research firm Universum USA, work-life balance tops the list of those characteristics graduating students seek in employers.
• Life trumps work. Unlike boomers who loaded their careers with a sense of priority, today’s youngest workers are more interested in making their jobs accommodate their family and personal lives.
• Perks are standard. This generation wants time off to travel, a generous view of personal time (including the ability to go part time or absent themselves from the workforce temporarily when children are in play), the opportunity to grow within a company, the flexibility to telecommute, opportunities to volunteer and access to personal wellness tools.
Change or die, goes the adage, and its dire message is no more relevant than today, as the battle for talent escalates, and as the biggest demographic bulge heaves itself into its retirement years.