According to a recent study, by 2025, 75% of the GLOBAL workforce will be made up of Gen Y’ers. Here at Workshare, we saw this huge statistic and we wanted to know more. Who are these people revolutionizing the workplace? What do they care about? What do they need to be a productive workforce?
Gen Y has a special connection with technology, and the fact that 33% believe the internet to be as important as air, water, and food speaks volumes! These young men and women have grown up in a world of huge technological developments, so it’s not surprising that technology is paramount to their everyday lives. Born between 1982 and 1994, Generation Y, aka ‘The Millennials,’ are the most educated and ethnically diverse generation yet. With 25% having grown up in a single parent household as well as a result of latchkey parenting, over indulgent parents, and high divorce rates, Gen Y’ers are independent, empowered, and like constant feedback. With a laptop in their bag and a smartphone in their pocket, it’s as if Gen Y has developed a sacred bond with the beloved gadgets and gizmos of today. As these talented and tech-savvy youngsters flood the work place, it’s essential for companies to understand now, more than ever, who Gen Y are and how to motivate them in the workplace.
The Generation Y Infographic that we created here at Workshare, found at the bottom of this article, consolidates the stats and encapsulates the Gen Y persona.
Technology is at the heart of Generation Y, and it is used at a higher rate than any other generation – 90% own a personal electronic device and 80% of their daily activities involve using technology. An element of this is, of course, social media. 75% of Gen Y has a profile page on a social networking site, with 81% of these checking Facebook ‘every day.’ Social media as well as the need to share and discuss life and topics of interest, has evolved to become an essential part of life for many. Waking up in the morning and checking Facebook or tweeting your first thought of the day is like second nature to many. Gen Y workers also want to be mobile and flexible. They aren’t against long hours, but to compensate, outside of the typical 9am – 5pm work day, they aspire to work away from the office (and the smelly man in the cubicle next door). 40% even go as far as saying that they would accept a lower paying job that had flexibility in device choice, social media access, and mobility over a higher paying job with less flexibility! The ability to work on their smartphone whilst sitting at Starbucks with a latte or to work on their tablet whilst on their way to a weekend break is important for this generation.
This flexibility has been made easier in recent times with the advent and penetration of Web 2.0 collaboration platforms designed to serve the 24/7 globalized economy. Collaboration via cloud computing is gaining popularity throughout the business world as it allows companies to store huge amounts of data in the cloud as well as individuals and teams to share files, and collaborate on work using mobile access. Our infographic shows that 32% of Gen Y employees prefer to work in break-out spaces over formal meeting rooms and, with this, 38% believe they are more productive working at home than an office environment. It is becoming more apparent that even within actual business meetings themselves, the ability to use a PDA is becoming more important to Gen Y. This need for flexibility and mobility is becoming more attainable for Gen Y through the use of mobile devices and the evolving technology of cloud computing.
What we have also noticed is a change in the younger generation’s mentality. Rather than the ambitious (and more traditional) thoughts like, “I’ll be a billionaire, no matter what, by the age of 30,” Gen Y today care more about their personal life. As individuals, Gen Y’ers want to make an impact and crave to be successful in their profession, but, at the same time, they want to enjoy (and have) a life of their own outside work. When looking for a company, Gen Y goes for rewarding and fun places to work. They look towards enterprises where there is quality of life, opportunities to learn, and a great team of colleagues to support them. Along with their technological brains, Gen Y’ers are a sensitive bunch! Topics they care about include race relations, sustainability, fair trade and social responsibility.
Soon enough it will be 2025 and 75% of the workforce will be Gen Y’ers. The time’s come to look to the future – to tailor to the needs of Gen Y and give this new generation the creative and innovative means to work. If businesses fail to modify the way they think and fail to adapt the way they manage their systems, companies may lose current employees and fail to attract new talent.
To see the infographic, click here.