You’ve heard them referred to as “Generation Y”, “The Millenials”, the “Echo Generation” or even as “GenerationME”; the generation of young people born between 1980 and 2000 represents roughly 8 million of the Canadian population. This is the very same 8 million that is expected not only to enter the workforce, but essentially replace the 10 million retiring Baby Boomers in the next 10 to 15 years…
This is not a Generation to ignore. These tech savvy, advice-sharing, extroverts may very well be one of the most powerful generations to date. They are the most educated and most diverse generation. These kids grew up with parents who always asked and valued their opinions. Since they were toddlers, they were asked “What clothes do you want to wear today”, “What would you like to eat for dinner?” or “What would you like to do today?” Eventually, these questions grew to include “How do I fix this VCR?” to “What’s wrong with this computer?” and “What kind of cell phone should I buy?” and even questions about financial advice. Why? Well, for starters this generation was born into and developed right along side of our ever changing, ever evolving world of technology. Information has always been right at their finger tips and so too have the tools to access it. From smart phones, tablets, PC’s and Ipods, GenMe has been ‘plugged in’ since birth.
How will they fair in the workplace? If future employers learn to understand this diverse generation, the reward could be quite incredible. This group likes to share advice, so listen to them. These kids are creative and innovative. Not only do they know technology, they understand it, can use it, develop it and keep up with it. Remember, they grew up with parents who constantly praised them for their efforts. If you want this group to perform, be careful about criticizing their work, and instead focus on rewarding the efforts and accomplishments they make along the way. Also, these kids have witnessed the effects of socioeconomic decline. They have seen their parents work hard and still come out struggling. This generation may choose not to commit to one particular job for any length of time, so if you are interested in retaining these employees, be willing to cater to a more flexible work schedule. Gen Y places a great amount of value on achieving ‘balance’ in their lives. They like to work hard and play harder.
In a world that has become flat as a result of globalization, employers will find it challenging to assume a new worldwide perspective. Generation Y is the most diverse generation to date. Where the Boomer generation may struggle with their historic sense of who they are in relation to the rest of the world, Gen Y is already at a point where their worldview favours a new period of world development and growth. Employers will benefit greatly from this new perspective and so too will their businesses. Often viewed as an arrogant generation, the Millenials have also been noted as being very enthusiastic. They work to live, not the other way around.
If employers are willing to accept change, move forward with technology and harness the positive attributes of the Millenial generation, it would most certainly be to their advantage.
Karen Cake is a student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College, in Hamilton, Ontario. MCACESBlogs is a series of blog posts created by students in attempts of helping job seekers. Like what you read? Be sure to follow MCACESBlogs. Happy reading!