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GENERATION Y

GENERATION Y

“They’re young, smart, brash. They may wear flip-flops to the office or listen to iPods at their desk. They want to work, but they don’t want work to be their life.”

“They’re like Generation X on steroids,” [author] Tulgan says. “They walk in with high expectations for themselves, their employer, their boss. If you thought you saw a clash when Generation X came into the workplace, that was the fake punch. The haymaker is coming now.”

With 85 million baby boomers and 50 million Gen Xers, there is already a yawning generation gap among American workers–particularly in their ideas of work-life balance. For baby boomers, it’s the juggling act between job and family. For Gen X, it means moving in and out of the workforce to accommodate kids and outside interests. Now along come the 76 million members of Generation Y. For these new 20-something workers, the line between work and home doesn’t really exist. They just want to spend their time in meaningful and useful ways, no matter where they are.

Gen Y is growing up. The oldest of the generation are now 26. They’re beginning to take to the workplace. As a result, a plethora of articles has turned up in business magazines worldwide, suggesting creative ways for employers to deal with this new, seemingly odd, generation. This article looks at who they are and why they matter.

This young generation is the first native online population. This alone has set the tone for how they act, react, and see the world. They are vastly different from their parent’s generation.

Generation Y’s attitudes differ from parents (and certainly from grandparents).

“We’ve got a lot of people who, the entire time they were growing up, the only time anything important was happening, there was a camera present,” Thompson says. “When they were exiting the womb, they had a camera present. When they were blowing out that first candle or getting on the school bus for the first time, it was all being recorded.”

Reference: Robert Thompson, a professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University

Each generation has its own distinct set of values that is developed from the social environment in their early years. Different generations have different values and beliefs regarding family, career, the work/life balance, training and development, loyalty, gender roles, the work environment and expectations of leaders. Demographers have named the different generations around today as Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z.