Gen Y, like the two generations before it, has a bum rap. Accused of being lazy, entitled, and over-confident, it seems that the only influence they’d have on their workplace is a negative on. What’s not being widely discussed however, is what Gen Y is bringing to the table. With their seemingly lofty demands, rogue sensibilities, and alternate priorities, come perks that all workers will benefit from. Flexible telecommuting policies, intrinsic priorities, and more equality for women and minorities are both ways in which Gen Y is using the lessons it learned from coming of age in a failed economy and being raised with an emphasis on self-esteem.
Gen Y prioritizes flexibility and technology more than any generation ever has. In a 2012 study, it was found that organizations plan on reducing office space by 17% by 2020. With cloud computing, and mobile technology, it’s just really unnecessary to have every employee attached to a nine-to-five desk job.
Gen Y is the first generation to place more value on happiness and helping others, than a high-paying career. According to the The Millennial Generation Research Review, by the National Chamber Foundation, only 7% of millennials, compared to 15% of Gen Xers, place excelling at a high salary job as a top priority. As with Gen X, Geny Y places more value in family, personal relationships, and happiness than money.
Young women seem to be dominating in education. Approximately 60% of recent B.A. graduates are female, according to the most recent BLS reports. The number of stay at home dads is increasing, and the number of female leaders are rising. Get ready to see more Marissa Mayers out there. Not only are women going to become more prominent leaders as Gen Y takes over the workplace, but people of all races will likely have more opportunity.
“Young people are more tolerant of races and groups than older generations (47% vs. 19%), with 45% agreeing with preferential treatment to improve the position of minorities. This may be attributable to the diversity of the generation itself, which recalls that of the silent generation. The shifting population is evidenced with 60% of 18 – 29 year olds classified as non-Hispanic white, versus 70% for those 30 and older. This reflects a record low of whites, with 19% Hispanic, 14% black, 4%Asian, and 3% of mixed race or other. Additionally, 11% of Millennials are born to at least one immigrant parent” Reads the The Millennial Generation Research Review by the National Chamber Foundation.
So before you go criticizing Jessica or Michael (the most common names of those born in the 80’s and 90’s), try to remember what they’re bringing to the table. Also, consider the fact that it’s significantly harder for them to succeed than it was for you, which is likely the reason they’re more skeptical and less loyal to employers. If Gen Y succeeds at making workplaces value flexibility, personal lives, and equality, everyone will win.