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New Study Reveals Significant Gap Between Generation Y Workers and Co-workers


New Study Reveals Significant Gap Between Generation Y Workers and Co-workers

CHICAGO.—Perez Hilton, who? d-listed, what? And what in the world does “OMG” mean? If you’re feeling out of touch with workers from younger generations at the office, you’re not alone.

A new survey by points to more pronounced generational gaps in communications styles and job expectations in the workplace. Titled “Gen Y at Work,” the survey was conducted from June 1 to June 13, 2007 among 2,546 hiring managers and Human Resource professionals across all industries.

Nearly half (49 percent) of employers surveyed said the biggest gap in communication styles between Generation Y workers (employees 29 years old or younger) and workers older than them is that Gen Y workers communicate more through technology than in person. Another one-in-four (25 percent) say they have a different frame of reference, especially in terms of pop culture.

In terms of job expectations, 87 percent of all hiring managers and HR professionals say some or most Gen Y workers feel more entitled in terms of compensation, benefits and career advancement than older generations. Seventy-three percent of hiring managers and HR professionals ages 25 to 29 share this sentiment. Employers provided the following examples:

• 74 percent of employers say Gen Y workers expect to be paid more
• 61 percent say Gen Y workers expect to have flexible work schedules
• 56 percent say Gen Y workers expect to be promoted within a year
• 50 percent say Gen Y workers expect to have more vacation or personal time
• 37 percent say Gen Y workers expect to have access to state-of-the-art technology

Over half (55 percent) of employers over the age of 35 feel Gen Y workers have a more difficult time taking direction or responding to authority than other generations of workers.

“Generation Y workers are an important segment of the workforce and literally the future of companies and organizations,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources for “They grew up in a technology-driven world where standards and norms have changed and often operate under different perspectives than older co-workers. As companies cultures evolve with each generation, you see all workers benefiting from a variety of viewpoints and work styles.”

Fifteen percent of employers said they changed or implemented new policies or programs to accommodate Gen Y workers – changes, Haefner points out, that would have benefited workers of all ages. Examples include:

• More flexible work schedules (57 percent);
• More recognition programs (33 percent);
• More access to state-of-the-art technology (26 percent);
• Increased salaries and bonuses (26 percent);
• More ongoing education programs (24 percent);
• Paying for cell phones, blackberries, etc. (20 percent);
• More telecommuting options (18 percent);
• More vacation time (11 percent).

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the US by Harris Interactive on behalf of among 2,546 US employers (employed full time, not self employed; with involvement in hiring decisions), ages 18 and over within US between June 1 and June 13, 2007. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of U.S. employers, and propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 2,546, one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/-2 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A full methodology is available upon request.


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