Should CEOs embrace Gen-Y to keep them?

Is the iGeneration forcing businesses to rethink recruitment and their use of technology?

Employing the Generation Y can be a risky business. Opinions concerning the ones that came after Baby Boomers vary; some view the group as stereotypically lazy and job-hopping; others view them as people that require flexibility and challenge.

Some businesses have given up attempting to retain such workers -- that cost time and money to train -- while others have began to alter their business practices to try and accommodate transitions in work culture.

The iGeneration, a group beginning to move into their 30s, will eventually take up leadership roles in Western businesses. According to, attempting to retain them is the number one issue that Australian CEOs find the most frustrating -- above achieving growth, cost cutting and remaining competitive.

In a recent survey of leadership concerns conducted by the institute, CEOs found this problem a concern in relation to the future of their businesses.

The Australian CEO's institute's head, Barry Westhorpe, has suggested that by appealing to Gen Y's "sense of technology" and giving them instant gratification, practical information and challenges, businesses may be able to keep their younger workers longer.

Other values that are important to the Gen Y include responsibility, diversity, a work-life balance, fun in the workplace and the ability to use technology.

With the rapid expansion of mobile devices in both the workplace and personal lives, businesses have the opportunity to harness these advances to offer both a more flexible schedule and better work-life balance for their workers -- something which appeals to the younger generation.

Management consultant Avril Henry believes that the Generation Y are far more willing to leave than their predecessors, the Baby Boomers.

"What Gen Y has decided is that they will not work the crazy long hours that they've seen their parents and Baby Boomers working – which leads to poor a work-life balance, and can impact their relationships outside work.

We still think that Gen Y have to do the boring mundane tasks because they are young. If you give Gen Y boring work they will leave because they want to be challenged and do interesting work. They also want good leadership and management."

Image credit: BAIA


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