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Employee Expectations

April 5 2005 - A survey by Ross Human Directions (RHD), a recruitment, technology and human resource management firm shows that organisations are ill-prepared for Generation Y employees.

Who are Generation Y employees? According to RHD, they are the 4.5 million Australians born between 1978 and 1994. RHD's survey, Thriving (and surviving) with Generation Y in the workforce is intended to provide insights into how organisations are acknowledging, understanding and managing the expectations of the youngest generation in their workforces.

The survey indicates that over 58% of Australian organisations have experienced a shift in employer/employee expectations among the younger workforce. But only 21% of those organisations that identified a shift in the expectations of employers and their Generation Y employees, believe they are managing this shift successfully.

The survey involved senior HR and operational executives from some 65 organisations across a range of industries. 32% of respondents believed that there was tension between managers and Generation Y employees. 12% of people in the survey considered that their leaders did not understand the work ethic of the younger generation while another 20% believed the expectations of managers and younger employees did not reconcile, leading to frustration for both groups.

Diane Moynihan, director of marketing, Ross Human Directions said, "This survey demonstrates that organisations are beginning to acknowledge the values, beliefs and expectations of Generation Y employees. However, it also brings to light the fact that many organisations are not quite sure how to attract, retain and manage Generation Y or what the impact might be on their business.

"With a large number of Generation Y yet to enter the workforce, organisations need to address how they manage Generation Y while harnessing the potential of this creative, innovative and inspired generation," concluded Moynihan.

Peter Sheahan, a talent specialist and Generation Y expert said,"Generation Y employees are fast becoming the ambassadors of organisations’ brands and reputation. With soaring attrition rates, and Australia's aging workforce, there has never been a more crucial time to engage this generation. ‘Thriving (and surviving) with Generation Y in the workforce’ reveals that while some organisations are beginning to adapt to meet the needs of Generation Y, many have a long way to go."

Other findings:

  • Of the 58% of respondents acknowledging a shift in employer/employee expectations amongst the younger workforce, 50% said that they had noticed a shift which may be affecting them but are yet to understand its impact.
  • 29% felt there had been a significant shift in people’s expectations which needed to be seriously addressed
  • Generation Y employees rated personal development (80%), career progression (79%) and remuneration and benefits (81%) above things such as stability and security (49%) in their jobs, according to the survey’s respondents.
  • This contrasts with baby boomers (born between 1950-1964) who ranked stability and security at 87% in importance, while career progression and personal development floundered at 36 and 37% respectively.
  • Just over half of respondents said they had modified their recruitment and selection processes (51%) as well as their reward and recognition programs (51%) to better cater for Generation Y, while 49% stated they had made changes in employee training.


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