Generation Y Workplace The Generation Y Workforce

Gen Y in the Workplace

With increasingly aged populations and the recent economic recession the focus on the state of the workforce has moved onto the upcoming Generation Y. This focus has included common and often times unsubstantiated allegations of Generation Y laziness and lack of loyalty, but rarely is any evidence beyond anecdotal evidence provided. Herein, how Generation Y really acts in the workplace will be discussed.

Generation Y Workplace: What is generation Y?

Generation Y is made up of people born roughly between the years 1980 and 2001. The reason the letter ‘Y’ is chosen is because of its connotations with the word ‘why’, which is meant to represent Generation Y’s questioning behaviour.

Generation Y Workplace: The Positives of Generation Y

The first and largest positive of Generation Y is that they tend towards favouring self-driven work. As such, finding employees who do not need to be baby-sat is more likely. The second positive of Generation Y in the workplace is that they tend against considering money the most important part of a career course. In essence, this is due to a trend towards choosing jobs based on how challenging and fun they are. The more fun and challenging a job, the more likely members of Generation Y will stay with it despite lower wages1. The final positive of Generation Y is that they tend to have fairly good technology skills and subsequently do not need as much training to become proficient with computers and the like. This can also lead to them developing ideas for improving a given business by utilizing social networking and the Internet to advertise.

Generation Y Workplace: The Negatives of Generation Y

Primary negative of Generation Y is that they do not feel particularly loyal to a job. Given the choice to change jobs to one that seems more appropriate to them, research has shown that they will do so without a large deal of regard for the original job1. A secondary negative is that they tend against believing in the concept of bosses, which is problematic as slipping into an existing workplace structure that has a clear boss is often necessary. This negative also ties in with the third negative, members of Generation Y can argue against the boss rather than just doing what is told. This particular negative is interesting because Generation Y also has an established trend of not being in managerial positions2.


1. Government of South Australia Department of Education and Children Services 2009.

2. Erickson, Tammy 2008. Managing Generation Y. Harvard Business Review.

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