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Career and the workplace

According to the book Millennial Leaders: Success Stories From Today’s Most Brilliant Generation Y Leaders:, Dr. Carolyn Martin, a principal with RainMaker Thinking Inc., says that one of the most significant changes in the workplace that will affect the way Generation Y approaches work is job security. Gen Y’s success will be increasingly linked to their ability to acquire as wide a variety of marketable skills that they can as they move about in their career(s).

As of 2007,[5]there are 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 they are 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 likely 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).

Eighty-one percent of 18- to 25-year-olds surveyed a Pew Research Center poll said getting rich is their generation's most important or second-most-important life goal; 51% said the same about being famous.


Dates that define a person belonging to Generation X have also been disputed. Others have suggested that such regional restrictions of use are unnecessary in the ever globalizing world.

Generations are not defined by formal process, but rather by demographers, the media, popular culture, market researchers, and by members of the generation themselves. For instance, while the periodical American Demographics typically uses 1976 to demarcate the start of Generation Y, demographers Howe and Strauss have consistently used "the High School class of 2000", or those born in 1982 as their demarcation. While many possible years are used as the endpoint of Generation Y, the term is almost never applied to current infants. Because of the flexible nature of such demographic terms, two people of the same birth year can identify as either Generation X, Y, or something that follows Y, such as the New Silent Generation and neither is wrong.

Numerous alternative terms (such as "millennials" in the popular press in the United States) have been coined to describe subjects of the cohort.

As the term "Generation X" was originally coined to describe the post Baby Boomer generation in the United Kingdom [7] (and later adapted to describe the same generation in the United States and Canada), some use "Generation Y" only to refer to Americans, Canadians, and other Anglophone people who were born after Generation X. If the years 1978–2000 are used, as is common in market research, then the size of Generation Y in the United States is approximately 76 million.

Trends among members

As with previous generations, many trends (and problems) began to surface as members of Generation Y come of age.

  • Drug use such as underage drinking and pharming parties are high. It is estimated 77% have drank underage. According to Time magazine, Pharming parties are get-togethers where prescription drugs are exchanged. These parties, while not necessarily devoted to illegal substances, are meeting places to use prescription drugs in order to become intoxicated. Use of marijuana is also quite high.[citation needed]

  • Members of this generation are facing higher costs for higher education than previous generations.

  • As members of Generation Y in the United States begin to enter colleges and universities in large numbers, some of their Baby Boomer parents are becoming helicopter parents. Many college advisors and administrators worry that this could have a negative effect on Generation Y's social progress, ego, and developing maturity.

  • Business owners in Australia feel that members of Generation Y were found to be "demanding, impatient and bad at communicating," according to a 2007 survey. The survey found that almost 70% of those surveyed found their Generation Y workers to be dissatisfying, with poor spelling and grammar and no understanding of appropriate corporate behaviors. However, the survey also showed most employers praised the energy and charisma of their Generation Y workers.

  • Gen Y represents more than 70 million consumers in the United States. They earn a total annual income of about $211 billion spend approximately $172 billion per year and considerably influence many adult consumer buying choices. They also face a greater degree of direct corporate predation than any other generation in history.

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