Should CEOs embrace Gen-Y to keep them?

Should CEOs embrace Gen-Y to keep them?

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

TOPICS: Tech Industry

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

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • "Far more likely to leave"? How about "far more likely to be laid off"?

    All workers anymore, not just Gen Y/X/W/whatever, have learned [b]from their employers[/b] that loyalty is a thing of the past. Instead of being rewarded for company loyalty, or even just for their hard work, the actions of board members & CEOs has shown them that stock prices & short-term financial "success" is more important to the company than the employees that make the company successful in the first place.

    Not to mention that I always find it a little insulting when so-called experts start talking about how "Gen whatever thinks this way". Do they think there was some magic DNA switch that flipped for all babies born after a particular date, or that somehow all those people born just 1 year too early for Gen Y are magically different? Or that, just because members of Gen Y acted a certain way when they're teenagers, they'll continue to act the same way once they're adults?

    You go back to all of the prior "generations", & you will find:
    -- some people are quick to catch on to & be enthusiastic about "new tech", while others aren't;
    -- some people just want the "easy job with a steady paycheck", others want a job because they think "I can get rich in this career field", while still others will pick a career because it interests them (it's challenging, they like the subject matter, whatever)
    -- some people look for long-term employment (i.e. something longer than 5 years), other people view their jobs as "I'm just here until I find my 'dream job', while others are already looking for their next job the day after they get hired

    Technology changes a lot faster than people do. Otherwise, we still wouldn't have news stories about actors & actresses "struggling" with addictions, professional athletes getting in trouble with the law, or college athletes/coaches screwing up & losing their positions.
  • I'm seeing the complete opposite

    I'm seeing a generation of workers willing to work the necessary hours and use their brains on the job rather than blame their own inefficiencies on their employer, but are not being given an opportunity of having a stable job with basic benefits like a couple weeks paid vacation and health insurance. All the jobs being offered are short term contract jobs with no paid time off and no benefits.

    If that's all I was offered I would not be loyal either.
    Michael Kelly
  • Work ethic

    From the recent interns we've had I see an alarming trend of what having much drive to succeed. Too many kids have been raised by "helicopter" parents and school systems where everything is easy and little effort is asked of them.

    They want to sit and play with their smartphone all day twitter, facebook etc vs. buckling down and doing work. They want to be part of exciting "visible" projects but fail to acknowledge most of the daily work is get stuff done, roll up your sleeves and tackle kind of effort.

    It's doesn't help that most still live at home with their parents and expect a nice house (granite counter tops etc) vs. getting out and living with 3-4 room mates to get by. Working 2 jobs etc.

    Your career is what you put into it and how you conduct yourself is noticed.
  • The recession is holding-off this effect.

    With so many young people unemployed, employers are scarcely recruiting at all, and any Gen Y with a job had better not jump ship just now.
    Of course, if they introduce some awful malware onto the LAN from their device, they might be joing the unemployed anyway.
  • Work on both sides

    I'm a Millennial that works for a Business Training and Leadership company and we have heard a lot about issues with Millennials and older generations in the workplace. I think there are challenges on both ends and there are things that each group needs to do to make this workplace relationship work. Millennials come with a different set of challenges than generations previously but they also come with a lot of strengths. The company I work for is currently working with managers on how to manage this group. In fact there is a free survey that managers can fill out that will help identify points of tension and make it more clear for us on how to better manage this group to minimize the challenges and maximize their strengths. Here is the link to the free survey: