Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

Summary: Some say the Generation Y are social trendsetters. Forrester seems to think otherwise. And, as per usual, I think differently too.

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TOPICS: CXO, IT Employment
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A Forrester Research study suggests that the Generation Y and the older Generation X 'aren't that much different' in the workplace.

Larry Dignan covered it this morning:

"Generation Y has been billed as the group of workers that’ll turn the enterprise into a social networking zone with consumerized tools and newfangled ways to manage."

But it isn't as simple as that. One of the key elements to the report was that:

"While more than two-thirds of Gen ' are individual contributors, 27% are managers or executives, and another 5% are consultants."

So, the long of the short of it is, is that the younger generation are adapting to the workplace post-education and are figuring out how to get ahead in the company at still a young age. With this, as many are already high-flyer's by the age of 25, it means they will have a say in influencing the technologies the business uses.

One of the main points of this survey is the stark similarity between the younger and older generation in the workplace.

However, a huge amount of pressure is being exerted on the skulls of the younger generation, as these 'revolutionary thinkers' that will change the workplace as we know it.

In reality, the younger generation consume these new technologies in a passive way: we take hold but we don't always necessarily take in.

The most interesting statistic I found in this study was that:

"They [the Generation Y] mostly see [the IT department] as a helpful resource, not a hindrance. This means that the bulk of Gen Y'ers, 62%, view IT as getting them what they need, or attempting to do this but hamstrung by corporate policy."

And I feel this explains a lot of what I try and do here, day in and day out.

The Generation Y are consumers, and consumer focused. They care about what's hot and what's not, they care about the upcoming technologies that allows greater and better socialisation, and are rarely bothered on the politicalisation of technology.

Just because we have the ability to run ourselves in the technological world on a personal level, does not mean we can work effectively in the enterprise arena. The rules of engagement are different; we cannot do as we please, or work with what we necessarily want to.

So, though we can pick up any mobile phone and 'automatically' know how to work it, does not apply to the enterprise.

But why?

What this means for business »

Rarely are we taught even the very basics of CRM or enterprise management software - or how enterprise business even works, at university. On the most part, they are buzzwords for something even arguably the older generations only understand through having them thrust upon them in the workplace.

At no given point do I think the expectation has been of the Millennial generation to revolutionise the enterprise workplace. In fact, truth be told, I would not be surprised to see the 'enterprise workplace' of business slowly die out. It just isn't interesting enough to these consumer-focused minds.

The creative industry, however, is slowly taking over the corporate world of business and hardcore technical working.

Granted, though the survey suggests that the Generation Y like to not only install software on their work computer, but also bring in their own devices to use, the technology they have access to 'is enough'.

Yet there seems to be such a focus on blatant generalisation.

But arguably, this could mean that the enterprise workplace is taking advantage of newer technologies, from smartphones to tablets and suchlike, to the point where the younger lot don't need to bring anything in from home. On the other hand, it could be indicative that the Generation Y prefer to keep home and work life separate, contrary to reports of 'Facebook merge'.

And once again, the differentiation between 'age range' of the Generation Y and the 'evolutionary user' of the iGeneration is not met. The two demographics are not mutually exclusive. The age range of the younger person cannot simply orchestrate an opinion based on the innate qualities this group will have, of naivety and lack of experience.

Topics: CXO, IT Employment

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36 comments
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  • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

    <i>?While more than two-thirds of Gen ? are individual contributors, 27% are managers or executives, and another 5% are consultants.?</i>

    27%? How is that even remotely possible? That would mean that the entire management and executive chain was under 30 which is pretty obviously not true from a quick glance at most companies. My guess is that there is a very loose definition of "management" and "executive" there.

    I'm tail end of Gen X and the Gen Y side doesn't really seem much different except perhaps a little less interested in the "nuts and bolts" of tech (and text messages vs phone calls).

    I see people in their 40s and 50s wandering around tapping away at crackberries and iphones, posting on Facebook, utilizing IM, sharepoint, VOIP. The workplace is already enormously connected.

    Gen Y can take right to that environment but their 'nativeness' doesn't confer much practical advantage against those already living in a connected enterprise.
    SlithyTove
    • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

      @SlithyTove Fast track schemes for graduates, I expect. There must have been on the job training... or the Gen Y are innately awesome. Which do you prefer? :)
      zwhittaker
      • Well, Zack...........

        @zwhittaker
        I'm happy to see that you don't let modesty stand in the way of truth.
        Userama
      • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

        @zwhittaker We are not innately awesome. Personally I hate my Gen. Bunch of know it all punks who complain and are never happy. I am 24,I never went to school for IT nor have any certs, and I work in the IT Department of a bank (about 40 branches I help). They love me here because I am the youngest so I naturally have a bit more energy then everyone else here, I am willing to learn and love to take initiative. I'll say that half of Gen Y that is in the IT field do not share my work ethics.
        Bates_
      • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

        @Bates_ But if you look at the older generation, so many people are off work because they - frankly, can't be bothered to work. Laziness and generational demographics are not mutually exclusive - there's laziness in every generation. I, too, have a strong work ethic - which you can see every day when I post something. So many of my student colleagues panic write their essays on the last day because they couldn't be bothered to do it sooner.
        zwhittaker
      • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

        @zwhittaker

        I prefer: "There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damn lies, and statistics." ;)

        Nothing wrong with Gen Y, just haven't seen much real-world indication that they function differently in the workplace than previous generations.
        SlithyTove
      • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

        @Bates I am also part of Gen. Y and I agree with you about how lazy some of the people my age (27). I started working in IT at the age of 20 and I still have people my age that haven't even started looking for a job yet. The one group I am worried about is the Gen. Z.......it doesn't seem like they EVER put down a cell phone....OMG! LOL
        tkriskovich
    • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

      @SlithyTove

      Agreed. I think the author is either dreaming or made this stuff up (or misinterpreted something he read). Or maybe things are way different in the UK than in the US.
      Schoolboy Bob
      • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

        @Schoolboy Bob TEE HEE....When you kids get to be half my age, it will begin to dawn on you that there are workers and drones in all generations, The trick is in learning how not to allow the drones to get in your way or slow you down. I started in a Tech field in the 1950s the first computer I worked on had no solid-state, just mechanical devices and syncros & servos(If you know what those are. (I'm in my 70s....have fun kiddies).
        macsie
  • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

    @Bates_
    And when it comes time to lay people off, you'll begin to wish you had that job security( a few certs and/or a degree) or at least a fall-back plan.
    Codeblox
    • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

      @Codeblox I have come to learn that the hard way but it seems 50/50. Some places prefer on the job experience over certs, and some vice versa. I have been in the IT field since 18, so I have a good foot in the door. I beat out a few certified techs for this job because I have years of experience and I know how to deal with clients and end users since I have been doing it for so long (6 years is long to me ok lol). The times I have been laid were all BS:

      My first company closed down, and I loved that job to death.
      I bounced around as consultant for many years after that.
      Scored a position with my buddy but his company jerked me around so after I threatened them after not seeing my first paycheck for almost 2 months, they never called me back. Surprise there lol.
      I got laid off from my last W9 position because the owner was a DB and hired me to help clear out his workload, which he was about 2 months+ behind on, and then once I finished all his behind work, I Was let go.
      I got laid off from LiveU because I was lied too (and I am not Israeli, trust me, it matters), and the management is beyond clueless on how to actually manage anything. No big loss there that place is unprofessional, stressful and will be sold soon if I know Israeli start up companies.

      It happens, I move on and find something new.
      Bates_
  • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

    I'm actually of the opinion that the <i>last</i> thing workplaces need are more and greater tools for socialization. The bigger challenge from almost everyone I know is getting <i>disconnected</i> long enough to be able to get some real work done.
    SlithyTove
    • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

      @SlithyTove Well spoken
      Muttley49
    • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

      @SlithyTove agreed
      nickdangerthirdi@...
    • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

      @SlithyTove See, this is an interesting thing (I'm writing an essay on this as I write this). What about 'workplaces' that don't strict exist, like freelancers? The need to socialise is a crucial part of the workplace - integrating with colleagues, speaking with other staff, collaborating in real time (but in person). Behind the scenes here, we socialise. We talk, we discuss, we riff off each other and sometimes discuss what we write about. If we didn't have that infrastructure in place, I would get pretty lonely at work - not knowing who my colleagues were.

      Considering so many journalists and other professions now work on a freelance or work-from-home basis, the need to be connected with your workplace and colleagues is all the more important, for when you don't see them in person.
      zwhittaker
      • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

        @zwhittaker
        Let's see: Used to get a morning break, lunch, afternoon break, and then, as much time as I wanted after work to socialize with what and whomever I pleased. When did I have time for myself? By the way, work place is suppose to be about work--productivity!
        eargasm
      • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

        @zwhittaker

        <i>The need to socialise is a crucial part of the workplace - integrating with colleagues, speaking with other staff, collaborating in real time (but in person).</i>

        All of that is critically important.

        But my point is that it is very easy for it to go from important to all-consuming. I say this as a person that spends less that 1/3 of my time in the office and spend as much time interacting with people in Budapest, Malaysia, or India (to name a few) as I do my own city.

        I and the people I work with are jacked into a constant stream of email, IM, VOIP conferences, face to face meetings, etc that we act like information junkies compulsively checking to see if there is anything new we have missed. Every attempt I have seen to throw dedicated "social media" into that mix has died, not so much from lack of interest, but more because it is like trying to play a guitar in a typhoon.

        As workers we have to deliberately shut down everything periodically to get some uninterrupted time to work through the kind of hard problems that demand deep concentration.
        SlithyTove
      • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

        @zwhittaker
        When I was doing more freelance work, I'd go to Starbucks, or some other WiFi hotspot and hang out with all of the freelancers. The thing about programming is that you can generally do it anywhere. However, it is something you end up doing alone. It's just very nice to do it some place where there are other people around. You don't feel so lonely then.

        And for reference sake, I'm 46. I've been at this longer than your generation has, and I'm not seeing much of a difference. "The more things change ..." But when I look at the non-IT people of my generation, I usually end up wondering if I or they didn't end up in a time warp.
        mheartwood
        • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

          @SlithyTove
          "Every attempt I have seen to throw dedicated 'social media' into that mix has died, not so much from lack of interest, but more because it is like trying to play a guitar in a typhoon."

          A nice metaphor. I like it. And very apt.

          "As workers we have to deliberately shut down everything periodically to get some uninterrupted time to work through the kind of hard problems that demand deep concentration."

          Beside the Starbuck I use to frequent was a Mailboxes Etc business depot. That's where you went when you needed quiet. No one bothered you there. Except for the clickity clack of laptops, it was usually silent. The chief thing wasn't to be social, it was to be around people. Working at home nearly sent me around the bend until a friend mentioned the place. It was half way across the city. I was there every day until I got an embedded contract and went back to an office.

          And that I think is the key to a work place. No matter what you're doing, you don't want to be doing it alone.
          mheartwood
    • RE: Generation Y: The IT departments' worst nightmare?

      @SlithyTove
      Ha-Ha Love it. We may all have been thinking it but you came out and said it! "The Emperor isn't wearing any clothes!" besides Cellphones , laptops etc are a huge security risk and some businesses flat out dont allow them on premises.
      Craigs Computers