Gen Y: Redefining the world of work
Often labelled as lazy, entitled and selfish, Generation Y has endured a lot of criticism from older generations regarding their attitudes to work.
While it’s true that Gen Y has a very different approach to work than previous generations, this doesn’t mean that they are any less committed to their careers and unwilling to work. In reality, they are simply taking advantage of new technologies and opportunities to carve their own paths, straying from the traditional stages of career progression to work smarter, not harder.
One young person who spoke to The Guardian regarding her approach to work said: 'I saw my mum and dad work really hard, but my work ethic is different. I want to do well but I want to have great fun in life. Money and work are not the be all and end all. If you put all your effort into your job you lose sense of what you are living for.'
Faced with low job security despite being the most educated generation in history, rising house prices and the breaking down of traditional borders via technology, many young people opt for experiences that fulfil them, rather than work themselves to the bone to accumulate more 'stuff'.
The recent Life Done Better report, which examines the attitudes of Gen Y to their careers and life experiences, shows that nearly 90% of Gen Y believe that people don’t need as much stuff as they have. Instead, this generation wants to invest in experiences, and they’re treating their careers the same way.
Gen Y knows that the traditional 9-to-5 job is pretty much dead – technology, flexible working hours, freelancing and 24/7 connectivity mean that the line between work and home life is significantly blurred.
The priorities of this generation is to live life to the fullest, to be passionate about what they do (86.9%) and work somewhere that promotes an enjoyable environment.
According to Brendan Churchill, a research fellow at the University of Tasmania, “businesses don’t want to invest in young people as it’s easier to hire a mature aged worker because of the government incentives, or to hire a migrant, than train a young person. There is also the negative message about Generation Y being lazy and refusing to work, this all culminates and puts young people at a disadvantage.”
In response, Gen Y have driven an entrepreneurial boom, starting their own businesses to service the needs of their generation and carve their own path. According to Forbes, Gen Y sense that “career success will require them to be more nimble, independent and entrepreneurial than previous generations.” Far from shying away from hard work, this generation is working harder than most to rewrite the rules of a system stacked against them, and forge their own path towards what they define as success.