A global study of more 44,000 employees has revealed the myths about Gen Y employee motivations are little more than rhetoric.
HR and social media consultants have been telling businesses to develop engagement strategies targeting younger workers (HRR528). However, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ NextGen: A global generational study of 44,000 employees across 18 countries confirmed and dispelled rumours about what motivates employees aged 30 and younger.
Significantly the study found very little difference between the attitudes and behaviours of younger workers and older workers. Some 15% of all male respondents and 21% of all female respondents would forgo salary advancements and promotions in favour of working fewer hours. The report said Gen Y was “not convinced that such early career sacrifices are worth the potential rewards. A balance between their personal and work lives is more important to them”.
Results consistent across generations
The study revealed what will motivate and engage staff regardless of age, sending a strong message to HR practitioners. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents (Gen Y and older) want flexibility in their work hours. Some 64% of Gen Y and 66% of all others would like to occasionally work from home, and 66% of Gen Y and 64% of all others would like the option to occasionally shift their work hours. All respondents expressed a desire to take greater advantage of technology by working remotely.
PwC’s global head of HR Dennis Finn said the results were “unprecedented” and any employer who aims to “recruit [Gen Y] employees and keep them engaged and happy will need to adapt to meet their needs”. He said by 2016 nearly 80% of the workforce would comprise Gen Y and the study should help “guide strategies to] manage, promote and compensate” employees.
“PwC’s study discovered that the stereotypes about [Gen Y] employees are more false than true. [Gen Y] attitudes are similar to those of older employees,” Finn said.