Dec 8 2008
One of the more interesting conversations I’ve had on Twitter recently was if the current economic crisis will change the demanding attitude of generation Y/the millenials at the workplace. As many of you know the millenial is often typified as the poster child for social media use, and have added a new level of demands for employers to satisfy.
It’s been my belief that a deep long recession would change this generational sense of “over-entitlement” for executive access and mentorship, lifestyle choices, collaboration, high salaries, plush bennies, transitory career paths, and steady, significant pay increases. Now that the economic crisis has steepened, and appears longer and more protracted than anyone had imagined, everyone is eating a little humble pie. Yet many folks think the socially engaged generation will not be drastically altered. Or will they?
I’m not sure this is true. In addition to our own economic crisis, we live in a globalized environment, which brings to bear billions of competitive workers to the market. In addition, as PRWeek pointed out, this crisis is highly exposed in the media, and represents the first major hard time for the generation that demands.
But back to the core question, will they change? One contract staffer suggested that dress codes will tighten up: “You have to look good to feel good to come across good. Everything flows through that first impression when you walk in the door. You need to stand out from the crowd in communication, presentation, physical appearance, the overall way you package yourself.”
A Financial Times article on the topic stated, “Many will fail to find jobs or lose the ones they have.” And that perks would change, saying “Time off to train for a triathlon will probably be harder to come by.”
Both of these articles did hint that perhaps millenials are better suited for economic crisis. One aspect that characterizes the generation is the desire to do good. Now with so many folks suffering, they will have their opportunity. And Generation Y expects to move from job to job, so temporary situations may not be as threatening.
None of us really know. But one thing is for sure, the economic crisis will create a lifelong impression that will shift the generation’s views. Even if it just means changing saving habits.