The New Generation of Australian Employees

The new generation of young people entering the workforce, have starkly different attitudes and desires than employees over the past few decades and to be honest its the tip of the iceberg.
The next 10 to 15 years will bring significant changes to expectations of what employers need to provide.

Workers born since the early 1980s, the generation Y, crave a more collaborative work environment and detest drudgery. Workplace analysts have stated clearly that the new generation of employees want a work-life balance, which is often at odds with the values of the corporate world. It’s a mindset that most companies haven’t yet faced and that older business concept enthusiasts have not yet grasped. But as retention is becoming a greater challenge than recruiting because as most companies tend to see entry-level employees move out rather than up.

An online survey of 320 graduates by Experience, Inc., which provides career services to university students and alumni, found a similar pattern, with an average tenure of 1.6 years at a first full-time job. More than one-third (36%) stayed less than a year. Another survey by recruitment group office team revealed that over half of employees who have been in their current position for two years are thinking about moving, or have already started looking for another job. The results indicate that about 56% of generation Y employees who have been in the current job for less than two years are thinking of leaving, or have already started looking for new work, while 53% of those say they are moving for higher pay, a better workplace culture and more responsibility.

The results yielded a strong statement. “They crave stimulation and fear boredom,Their ultimate obscenity is to be in a boring job.” So it seems that in today’s dynamic Generation Y workplace, two years in one position may as well be an eternity.

Take for a second now to imagine the long term population projections that suggest a plethora of young workers will replace an aging workforce and the inevitable concern about who is going to fill those management positions that the baby boomers will vacate. Even with economic slowdown rates your company still needs to groom its next generation of managers and if the current trend of generation Yers is to up and leave in under two years then you need a strategy to retain at least the strong leadership types whom your companies future could rely on.

Some companies have already made overtures to appeal to this new sensibility. Two of the Big Four accounting firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte, in 2006 revamped recruiting and retention programs to appeal to the work-life balance, mentoring environment and collaboration that generation Y workers want. At PricewaterhouseCoopers, about 20% of its 30,000 U.S. employees are generation Yers. In 2006, it launched a campaign supporting a balance between work and outside interests. The company stresses job flexibility and says there are “no standard hours” because “work isn’t the same day to day.”

Deloitte Australia has recently been voted one of Australia’s top places to work in 2010 by the Great Place to Work Institute Australia. The only Australian organisation with more than 1200 employees in the 50 top Australian companies. A deloitte spokesman said that the reason they believe they are considered a great place to work is that in these volatile times they believe the best way to value employees is to run the business in such a way that most people will remain employed.

More and more companies are incorporating work/life options and health and well-being options into the work/place to secure the best employees and make sure the current employees are happy, healthy and productive.