Aged 20 to 34 years old, Generation Y workers are often seen as different in their approach to work. There are plenty of qualifiers to define then: flexible, social, technological… But is this generation all that different? A Canadian study by the Deloitte firm has just reshuffled the deck a bit.
In its comparative study titled “The Future of Work – Reorientation Guide”, the Deloitte firm interviewed 502 Canadian professionals on their perception of active life. It shows that workers from Generation Y are not that different from those of older generations. In its introduction, the firm says: “All humans are alike and anything that ‘distinguishes’ the Ys from other generations arises from different conceptions of work and the increasingly rapid adoption of new technologies and new media.” Does this mean nothing is changing in workplaces? Deloitte rather suggests an adaptation to this generation that now represents one third of Canada’s population. Employers are invited to follow the evolution of three major trends as Generation Y have joined the ranks of workers in companies.
A screen generation
Generation Y is definitely technological. And this should be more and more felt in companies. We learn from the study that 58% of employees of this generation are accustomed to doing their research on the internet, compared to 36% of other generations. They also are more glued to their telephone with 41% of them checking constantly to see if they have received new messages, compared to 24% of older generations. This attachment by Generation Y to the telephone and tablet partly explains why employers are developing more and more BYOD policies in companies.
A social generation
In addition to making use of multiple technological tools available on the market, Generation Y is also fully integrated in the use of social networks at the office. Referring to the results of the study conducted by Deloitte, we learn that the question of confidentiality on social networks such as Facebook is less of a concern to them than to workers of older generations. 53% of them do not post any information that would not be appropriate for their colleagues to read, compared to 67% for the other generations. Workers in their twenties and thirties also do less to protect the confidentiality of their personal information on these networks (38%) compared to 47% of other generations. They also tend to share more personal information on social networks during office hours. Such behaviours should lead employers to review their ways of separating work and private life at work at the same time that the line between the two is blurring.
A flexible generation
Among workers using telecommuting in their company, Generation Y may be moving more towards this new way of working in order to benefit from a better work-family balance. The different generations are not really ready to do this, seeing the results of the study by which only one person in ten for Generation Y and other generations would choose telecommuting if they had the chance. This does not mean that this trend will stay the same in a few years since Generation Y workers are known for their work flexibility. The future could then look like an in-between for working at home and at the office.
But this adaptation to Generation Y could be completely turned upside down by the arrival of Generation Z. The qualifiers are already raining down to define them. According to the Millennium Branding consulting firm and the Randstad recruitment company, Generation Z will have more entrepreneurial spirit than Generation Y. It will also be less concerned about compensation and more immersed in face-to-face communication than their predecessors. Give it some time to arrive, however, since this generation is less than 20 years old.