Gen Y’s High Expectations Benefit Other Workers

By Kathy Gurchiek Dec 17, 2007

U.S. workers from Generation Y have higher expectations of the compensation, benefits and career advancement that they believe should come their way than previous generations—and some of those expectations are panning out.

Their sentiments are shared by most of their peers age 25 to 29 who work in HR and as hiring managers, according to findings from a survey of 2,546 such professionals from across all industries. And their desires are having unexpected benefits for older generations in the workforce.

“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, which conducted the survey in June 2007.

These workers, born between 1981 and 2000, make up about 23 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to the Society for Human Resource Management Workplace Diversity Initiative.

“They grew up in a technology-driven world where standards and norms have changed and often operate under different perspectives than older co-workers,” Haefner said in a press release.

Among the workplace expectations of those age 29 and younger, also known as Millennials:

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

The “expect it and you shall receive it” mentality might be working. Fifteen percent of those surveyed said their employer changed or implemented new policies or programs to accommodate Gen Y workers, changes that benefitted all workers, Haefner pointed out.

“As companies’ cultures evolve with each generation, you see all workers benefiting from a variety of viewpoints and work styles,” Haefner said.

Those changes include:

  • More flexible work schedule, implemented by 57 percent of those surveyed.
  • More recognition programs, 33 percent.
  • More access to state-of-the-art technology, 26 percent.
  • Increased salaries and bonuses, 26 percent.
  • More continuing education programs, 24 percent.
  • Paying for cell phones, BlackBerry devices and similar tools, 20 percent.
  • More telecommuting options, 18 percent.
  • More vacation time, 11 percent.

There are, of course, other generational differences, the survey found.

The biggest gap in communication styles is between Generation Y workers and those 30 or older. Not surprisingly, the technology-savvy Generation Y workers tend to communicate through technology rather than in person, the survey found.


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