Gen Y – is Youth Wasted on the Young?

I was recently reading some research from Hays Recruitment on some research they conducted with 1000 GenY individuals on their attitudes to work, what they are looking for in their boss, technology expectations etc.
It’s a good read with the main headlines being:
  • They want a career that allows them to do interesting work
  • Money is important, but so too is flexibility and bonus potential
  • When looking at a potential employer the opportunity to develop is the most crucial factor
  • They value a coaching style of leadership
  • They expect email to be the dominant style of communications for the foreseeable future
I’d recommend reading the full report because there are some interesting nuggets in here.

However, as I was reading it I confess I kept saying to myself “yep, me too”. I want interesting work that will help me grow, rewards beyond cash, and the opportunity to learn from inspirational coaches – however apparently I am 20 years too old to join this club!
While it makes good headlines I’m not a great fan of this approach of lumping any large group together based on an arbitrary segmentation (age, race, star-sign) and saying this is how they think. In fairness I don’t think that was really the intention, but that is always the risk – and I would argue that if you removed the age factor from the research you would emerge with broadly similar results. I prefer to take the view that there are people of any age who are curious about the world they live and work in, and those for whom this is not a significant driver. So let’s not create artificial differences between groups and generations.
Of course there are many people in senior positions in the workplace who don’t think the same way – who believe the pursuit of money is the only measure of success, who only exhibit an autocratic style of leadership, who invest little in helping their staff grow, and who have no interest in considering alternative views to their own. If that describes your boss my advice is simple – find someone else to work for!
Unfortunately, if you are one of those dinosaur bosses – you’re highly unlikely to read this report let alone act upon it…

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