How Twentysomethings Are Changing The Workplace

Gen Y is a hot topic in human resources and recruiting circles. As our parents generation starts to retire, love it our hate it, twentysomethings are entering the workforce full speed ahead. From my research, I found the typical Gen Y, twentysomething to be painted as someone who is:

  • Self-entitled. Gen Y wants to be promoted ASAP because we think we deserve it.
  • Totally tech dependent.
  • Having too big expectations. Gen Y has high pay and work flexibility expectations.
  • Impatient. Gen Y wants results and instant gratification. We want change and get bored easily.

Whether or not you agree or disagree, Gen Y has characteristics that are changing the workplace. Here’s how.

1) Not committed to one company or career

The thought of working for the same company for 20+ years, like many of our parents have, is daunting for many twentysomethings. It has never occured to me that I would find a job and stick with it for 20+ years. Gen Y will move around to find promotions, a better work environment or a more flexible schedule.
In addition, twentysomethings are often having kids later on in life, getting married later and purchasing property later. Gen Y isn’t committed to one place, one company or one person, making it easy to change living arrangements or workplaces.

2) Work-life balance is number one

This one goes both ways. I think Gen Y wants a better work-life balance because we are able to conduct work easily outside the office. On the other hand, this means we are keen to have less hours in the office but an email here and a phone call there can easily consume our after-work hours at home.

3) Ditch the suit

We are a bit more casual in our day-to-day work clothes, but can dress it up when the occasion calls for it.

4) We are more productive

Not to bash the older generations, but twentysomethings are more productive in certain ways. We grew up on a computer, meaning we can solve many issues on our own. We are constantly multi-tasking. Overall, we know how to best make use of the technology we’ve grown up with to manage our time and resources well. That is not to say that older generations can’t do the same, but Gen Y doesn’t need to be taught.

5) Personal life doesn’t always stay out of the office

I think twentysomethings are more likely to bring their personal life to the office and I don’t think this is a bad thing. For many, work will fill the majority of our waking hours. Gen Y is more likely to build beyond the office relationships with their co-workers and talk about their home lives in the office.

6) We crave independence at work

Gen Y grew up with divorced parents and day cares. We moved away from home for higher education. We are used to feeling independent. Gen Y doesn’t want to be talked down to. Regardless of position, Gen Y wants to feel equal to their co-workers and isn’t likely to stick around in a position where they aren’t given any independence.

How do you think twentysomethings are changing the workplace? Do companies need to cater to the more independent and tech-savvy Generation Y?

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