Money isn’t everything: What Generation Y wants from future employers

Katja Mayer 27.07.2012
It’s almost commonplace for today’s graduates to come across as extremely self-confident. They know their worth and are prepared to impose their demands. This is what distinguishes them from previous generations, who didn’t demand too much at the beginning of their careers for fear of jeopardizing their entry into the working world. They were also brought up differently and believed that such brash behavior was rude.

So what has changed? The demographic change in particular is standing today’s graduates in good stead: The anticipated decline in the workforce is putting pressure on companies to make attractive offers to highly-qualified applicants in order to lure them into the company – something that all applicants are looking for. What’s more, these companies have to step up their efforts if they want to hold on to their high potentials, because these so-called “millennials” are more willing to change jobs than previous generations.

More chutzpah than any other generation

Applicants also express a great deal of confidence in job interviews, making sure they get what they deserve. And they are not afraid to push their luck in the process. After all, they can talk about anything and everything...

Millennials don’t know what it means to respect authority. They are critical, question everything – and want to be convinced. They have no shame in asking what a company can offer them to help them make a decision. And companies that aren’t able to meet their expectations don’t stand a chance.

This is a tough nut to crack for seasoned managers. After all, they used to be the ones who had the luxury of choice and were able to push through almost all of their demands. Younger personnel managers, on the other hand, have a sense of déjà vu: The demands of Generation Y are the same as their expectations at the beginning of their careers – the only difference is that they didn’t dare enforce these demands at the time.

What high potentials want from a job

Personnel managers are surprised not only at the chutzpah of applicants but also at their demands. In addition to an attractive salary, today’s graduates also consider feel-good factors and the combination of work, leisure and family to be ever more important, as revealed by the following table.

Job prospects are important to millennials! When a job can’t offer them good prospects, they move on. After all, there is no shortage of demand for these young professionals. Old-school companies in particular can’t wrap their heads around this. They are accustomed to seeing money as the solution to all problems – and are therefore unable to meet these requirements of today’s graduates.

Flexibility is what counts

In addition to experiencing a decline in the workforce, society is undergoing a transition from being centered on labor to being centered on knowledge. Knowledge workers can perform their duties at any location in the world and are not tied down by fixed working hours or geography. But in combination with growing internationalization, this makes continuous production of knowledge more and more important.

The boundaries between professional and private lives are becoming ever more blurred. This does not seem to pose a problem for members of Generation Y, however. On the contrary, they don’t know it any other way. Laptops and smartphones enable them to switch back and forth between socializing and working. And they expect what they have trained and mastered – the ability to work flexibly in terms of both time and space – from their future jobs.

They enjoy working and are happy to take on responsibility. As long as there is work to do, they will keep at it – even outside of their usual working hours. They want to be paid for results, not for being present in the office.

Only employers who proactively respond to these needs will be able to win over the graduates of tomorrow for their company. There’s no need for this generation to adapt, but for companies to become more flexible. Of course, money and a fair salary do still play a key role – but they aren’t the most important aspects.

Recommended reading: Read more about Generation Y, their wishes and needs:

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