In recent years, discussions around the topic of Generations X & Y and their respective characteristics and expectations as employees have become increasingly common. Whether in technology, education, social life or working environment, every generation seems to bring with it a higher expectation of its surroundings. The light in which these groups demonstrate their differences most clearly is within the employment market. So why is hiring a ‘Generation Y’ candidate so tough, and why are so many major firms are unprepared to attract and retain them?
For those who have missed the ongoing labelling and characterisation of each generation, Generation X are born between 1966 – 1976. They experienced a major economic depression, therefore a distrust of the workplace and keen desire for employment stability is prevalent within this cohort. Generation X also watched their parents work extremely hard for very little reward and were raised with the impression that no one was listening and therefore had to fight to be heard.
As a result, Generation Y as their children, have been taught that their opinion is important, have entered the workplace with the ready made expectation that their thoughts matter and most importantly will not undertake any task without reward or the feeling of being sufficiently remunerated for it.
This means that Gen Y are a particularly difficult to employ and retain, they expect a good work life balance (working from home in a lot of cases), the best technology, to be rewarded highly for their work (in both praise and remuneration) and a good social element to be handed to them in each role. Additionally, due to the increasingly healthy state of the employment market, if they do not feel 100% satisfied in a role they will and can move to another position very easily. In fact, recent studies have been released which state Millennial will change roles every two years in average, in comparison to Gen X who typically seek new employment every 6-10 years.
In light of the fact that in 2020, 40% of the workforce is expected to be made up of Generation Y candidates, it is very much important to ensure that we are understanding of their demands and value in the workplace and are able to offer working environments which reward work life balance and fair remuneration over a hard work pays and jobs for life mentality.