Gen Y shakes up the workplace

The millennial generation, also known as Generation Y, are entering the workplace with a strong sense of entitlement to conditions that will suit their talents and tastes, according to a Wall Street Journal writer. In an article based on his new book, The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the Workplace, Ron Alsop profiles the young graduate workers as the demanding products of doting parents, teachers and coaches, accustomed to constant praise and to receiving trophies whether they deserved them or not, since what mattered was their self-esteem.

However, it seems that parents and teachers are not doing young people any favours by constantly adapting to their needs. “Going into the workplace, they have an expectation that companies will adapt for them too,” says a corporate consultant and career coach for college students. They expect higher pay, flexible work schedules, promotion within a year, and more vacation or personal time. But they are not inclined to give loyalty in return; if a job does nor prove fulfilling, millennials will forsake it in a flash. The problem of retention worries employers. If these workplace nomads do take longer to land a new job-- especially in the present economic conditions -- they are comfortable in the knowledge they can move back home and be subsidised by mum and dad.

Other characteristics that employers find challenging include the young workers’ need for precise guidelines and lots of affirmation, and their inability to handle criticism or even suggestions for improvement. They tend to be highly opinionated and are not in awe of the boss or management, to whom they expect ready access to share their brilliant ideas.

However, companies will have to adapt to some extent to the millennials, who also possess significant strengths in teamwork, technology skills, social networking and multitasking. Bred for achievement, most will work hard if the task is engaging and promises a payoff. And after all, says Alsop, “the grumbling baby-boomer managers are the same indulgent parents who produced the millennial generation,” so they are reaping more or less what they sowed.

Now there’s a take-home thought on parenting: Would you like your kids to be working for you? ~ Wall Street Journal, Oct 21


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