Understanding the career aspirations of Gen Y
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Gen Y comprising of those born between 1980 and 2000 would form close to 75% of the global workforce by the year 2025. While it is true that every generation has got smarter and more prosperous than the previous one, millennial men and women born in an environment that has had transformational impact due to digital technologies have developed a significantly different outlook towards various aspects of life. This is the generation which cannot imagine life without internet, computers and mobile. Around 80% of Gen Y is working on two or more devices while simultaneously watching TV! So what does all this mean to the corporates and how do they cope with Gen Y in the organisational context?
At the outset, it would be useful to make a brief comparison of Gen Y with Gen X. Parents of Gen X grew up in times of scarcity and limited resources and hence they were groomed to believe in the values of focus on hard work, investment in education and both men and a significant percentage of women both pursuing their careers albeit mostly in the same location. Gen Y on the other hand has relatively much better access to larger amount of resources and has grown up in an environment where digital technology has touched every aspect of their lives. Gen Y also values education but has been much better informed and conscious in making decisions regarding the type of programmes and careers they wish to pursue unlike Gen X who have had comparatively limited choices. Gen Y men and women nurture their careers with great care supported by active networking and peer influence with women keen on pursuing their careers of choice even if it means staying away from their families.
It is a fact that most organisations are run by Gen X comprising of a growing number of Gen Y employees. The organisation processes, structure and methods are built to suit the former and have not changed much over the years resulting in conflict with the style and approach required to deal with Gen Y employees. For instance, we often refer to Gen Y as lacking work ethic and not as hardworking as the previous generation. We fail to recognise the fact that Gen Y employees love to mix work with fun. They are as focused and diligent on completing the work at hand but do this in their own way. They are comfortable working from anywhere, any place and hence work does not suffer. They may want to enjoy their weekends but know how to prioritise at times of need and ensure deliverables are met.