Sunday, 22 November 2009

The end of Generation Y as we know it (?)

• Aged 60+
• Called traditionalists in the US
• Joined the workforce when the labour market was flourishing
• 50% of them have spent at least 10 years with their current employer and 33% have even spent more than 20.

Baby boomers
• Aged between 46 and 61
• Joined the workforce in a period of harsh competition for work and their career have been, by and large, linked to long working hours
• 50% have spent the last 10 years with their current employer.

Generation X
• Aged between 31 and 45
• Most of them graduated into the worst condition of job market since the Depression and are used to uncertainty
• 50% have spent at least five years with their current employer

Generation Y
• Aged between 19 and 30
• Grew up in a time of relative peace and prosperity, but for the impact of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and 7/7
• Joined the workforce in a economic boom
• 50% spent less than three years with their current employer.

The findings of a survey carried out last year by Penna, CIPD and PeopleMetrics, showed that beyond any expectations, Generation Y is not aiming to change job every year and, on the contrary, 50% of them said they planned to work with their current employer for at least five years. Nonetheless, as we have already seen, 50% of them had spent less than three years with their employer at the time of the survey.
Generation Y workers are by and large considered focused in flexibility, professional freedom, higher rewards, better work-life balance and present new challenges.
As one US HR Director explained: “They have seen their parents work all their lives for the same company and then get fired. They are not interested in killing themselves for work”.
Clearly the content of the psychological contract, the unwritten contract stating the mutual obligation between employee and employer, seem requiring to be revisited. That’s why nowadays we usually speak about a “new” psychological contract, opposed to the “old” one.
Definitely tricky workers to cope with, notwithstanding, they too need to be motivated, pushing organisation to improve their retention policies.
What is the impact, if any, of the current recession? Changing job today is as easy as it could be simply 1/2 years ago?

What is your experience with Generation Y?
Which is the behaviour of “Generation Y” in your firm? Are they used to stay for long periods or for short ones?
Is that true that they are not looking for a “job for life” and that they are not interested in “killing themselves for work”?
Have you seen any change since the recession outbreak?