MENLO PARK, CA, November 12, 2007 — Baby boomers and Generation Y (broadly
defined as those born between 1979 and 1999) may have less of a generation gap
than one might assume. New research from Robert Half International and Yahoo!
HotJobs reveals that Millennials share many of the same concerns as more tenured
workers when it comes to saving for retirement, finding a solid healthcare plan
and achieving work-life balance. However, Millennials aren’t concerned only with
the benefits their employers provide. They also expect a lot from their company
leaders and look to them as partners in success and job satisfaction.
In a just-released guide, What Millennial Workers Want: How to Attract
and Retain Gen Y Employees, Robert Half International and Yahoo! HotJobs
examine the professional priorities of the most senior members of Generation Y —
those who have already started a career or will soon start one. More than 1,000
adults ages 21 to 28 were polled for the project.
“The research depicts a pragmatic, future-oriented generation that holds many
of the same values as its predecessors,” said Reesa Staten, senior vice
president and director of workplace research for Robert Half International.
“Yet, certain distinctive qualities, such as a desire for very frequent feedback
from their managers, are unique to this generation. Generation Y expects a lot
of its leaders. Making sure supervisors of Gen Y professionals have supportive
management styles can go a long way in attracting and retaining these workers,
who will play a greater role in organizations as more baby boomers retire.”
Big expectations of company leaders
rated working with a boss they respect and can learn from as the most important
aspect of their work environment, ahead of having a nice office space, a short
commute or working for a socially responsible company. Those surveyed also
indicated that they expect more “face time” from their supervisors than a weekly
status meeting. The majority of Gen Yers (60 percent) want to hear from their
managers at least once a day.
Redefining a successful future
Most survey respondents
appeared optimistic about the future, but this isn’t a group whose idealism
overshadows practical concerns, according to the study. When evaluating job
opportunities, for example, the research shows that salary, benefits and room
for professional growth are top concerns for this group. While 46 percent of Gen
Yers consider their career prospects better than previous generations, many
respondents feel they also will have to save more money for retirement and study
harder than generations past. In fact, nearly three out of four (73 percent) Gen
Yers surveyed said they will likely go back to school to obtain another academic
degree or certification.
A corner office or impressive job title doesn’t equal success for Gen Y, the
survey results suggest. In fact, respondents ranked “a more prestigious job
title” last among seven factors that would prompt them to leave their current
positions. Opportunities for professional growth and advancement rated a greater
career priority, the research shows.
Keeping their options open
Like most employees, Gen Yers
crave challenge on the job. The top factors that would tempt Gen Yers to look
for greener pastures are added pay and benefits, opportunities for advancement,
and more interesting work. Even firms that provide some of these incentives may
not be able to keep Gen Y staff members for the long term. Four out of 10
respondents said they plan to stay at their job up to two years; only one in
five foresees staying at his/her current job six years or longer.
“Millennials never stop marketing themselves,” said Tom Musbach, managing
editor, Yahoo! HotJobs. “This means companies must constantly be in recruiting
mode with current employees.”
The survey was conducted in the second
quarter of 2007 by an independent research firm. It includes a total of 1,007
web interviews of people 21 to 28 years old who are employed full-time or
part-time, and have college degrees or are currently attending college. Among
those surveyed, 505 were males, and 502 were females.