Has The Recession Cancelled Gen Y Workplace Concerns?


The whole Generation Y concept of work- where flexibility, work life balance and a socially responsible employer is demanded by jobseekers – is set to change. That’s according to Steve Carter, Managing Director of accountancy and finance recruitment specialist Nigel Lynn.

“I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t have flexibility in the workplace”, says Carter, far from it, but according to recent research from the London Business School, while Generation X often requires flexibility for childcare, Generation Y demands it for lifestyle reasons. And according to a report in The Observer back in May, Generation Y jobseekers are “ready to resign if their jobs are not fulfilling and fun, with decent holidays and the opportunity to take long stretches off for charity work or travel.”

“In this market, that attitude isn’t going to go down terribly well with potential employers – many of whom may well be boomers and Generation X themselves and who had to really buckle down during the last major recession. And it’s going to be those people who can demonstrate that they can add real value to a business that will succeed. That means getting back to the Generation X ethos of hard work, long hours and potentially less time off. There will also need to be an acceptance that Generation X managers and leaders who have worked through a major downturn in the past will have valuable lessons to pass on. And above all, job seekers will need to demonstrate an attitude which reflects what they can do for their employer – not what their employer can do for them!”

Generation Y is a group that has never witnessed recession or economic hardship. They have grown up in a booming economy with rising house prices and a raging war for talent and so it is not surprising that they tend to talk about what they want from work. They may have some hard lessons to learn in the months to come.

What are your thoughts? Is Gen Y now going to become Gen X v2.0?

3 responses to “Has The Recession Cancelled Gen Y Workplace Concerns?

  1. Pingback: Generation Y’s Second-Job is the Key to Surviving the Recession | Twenty Set

  2. The Best Buy model is a great model of workers being highly effective while also being highly mobile. I believe we will see more and more companies consider this model or a hybrid of this model as we go forward.

  3. Highlighting the need to ‘buckle down and put in the long hours’ points to how we still have not learned from our mistakes. Americans already work the most hours of any developed nation, and that did not stop us from getting into this mess.

    Instead, corporations should look to these difficult times as a chance to change and innovate. This crushing recession will break many of the companies that refuse to change and embrace a new mindset. Millennials and their like minded co-workers do just offer a real solution to a corporation’s problems: decentralization. While it requires a more efficient and responsible manager, decentralization, flextime, and work from home offer real alternatives to reducing the fixed costs of an office. The mentality that just by sitting at your desk for an extra two hours a day will somehow make this recession go away is ridiculous.

    I would direct you to take a look at Best Buy, a company who is reinventing itself for the 21st century. They realized that their workplace was not appealing to the next generation, and put in place a system without schedules, made meetings optional, and judged a person only on their performance. They have seen both a reduction in voluntary turnover and an increase in productivity precisely because they listened to Gen Y.

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