Are our perceptions of Gen Y accurate?
There are many misconceptions in place around Generation Y, with a prevailing view that they will force through a significant shift in how the modern workplace operates. New research by JB Associates challenges this point of view.
The study involved 25,000 people from 19 countries and looked to get to the bottom of many of our workplace perceptions. Their findings shoud shake to the core many of our core beliefs about how the workplace functions.
Central to these findings is a shattering of perceptions around Generation Y. For instance the perceived wisdom is that Gen Y crave flexible working, utilising social media and other modern technologies to do their work from anywhere but the office.
The reality is somewhat different however. Gen Y employees were found to be 20% less likely to demand flexible working than their older colleagues. It seems that many go out of their way to spend time at the office and close to their manager.
Indeed flexible working was found to be the preserve of older generations. Amongst older employees demand for flexible working hit 70%, compared to just 40% of Gen Y employees that demanded such flexitime.
"This has real implications for accepted wisdom of workplace design and the built environment," said the report's author, John Blackwell.
"Many employers are planning radical changes towards 'leaner' working arrangements and less use of formal offices on the assumption that this will be appealing to younger hires. However in the light of this study, such plans will need careful consideration into how they might be realised."
Do Gen Y really want modern technology?
Similarly, Generation Y are often portrayed as being at the vanguard of new technology. They are the epitomy of the early adopter trying out the latest mod cons. This notion is pure myth according to the JBA report, with younger employees far happier to work with existing technologies than their older peers.
Likewise the report found that younger managers aren't demanding access to social media. The report suggests that they are reluctant to request such access for fear that they may be seen to be loafing.
Change shy youngsters
A final shattered myth revolved around attitude to change. Popular perception suggests that younger employees are keen on changing environments at work. The reality uncovered by this research suggests that younger employees are no more keen on change than any other age group.
The key message from the survey, as John Blackwell said, is that for all the talk of technological and social revolutions, some things stay the same.
"A universal desire among employees of all ages and nationalities is for a good career, with prospects, at a socially responsible company, working with managers and colleagues they respect, with a strong sense of duty towards their role and employer".
"Traditional values, such as duty and career prospects, are as equally germane for those born in the 1990s as those born in the 1950s."
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