Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / SEP. 05, 2014
version 4, draft 4

Study Shows That Millennials Are Disconnected from What's Expected of Them at Work

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According to a recent study, what Generation Y workers think they’re doing on the job and what they’re actually doing are two completely different things.

At least that’s what the study by Millennial Branding and American Express noted in their study titled, "Gen Y Workplace Expectations". 1,000 Millennials aged 22-29 were surveyed along with 1,000 managers from companies of all industries and sizes across America. The study’s results uncovered what criteria managers looked for when promoting and their impressions of Gen Y workers when it came to entrepreneurship, promotion, and social media in the workplace.

From the survey’s results, it’s clear that the disconnect comes in the way Gen Y Workers perceive their managers and their workplace which is in contrast to their manager’s impression of them. 59% of Gen Y workers believed that their managers could offer wisdom, 41% believed that their managers were wise, and 33% believed that their managers would mentor them. On the other hand, 47% of managers believed that their younger employees had unrealistic compensation expectations, 51% of managers believed they had a poor work ethic and 46% said that they were easily distracted.

While Gen Y workers tended to look favorably upon management, management didn’t necessarily see them in the same light. This correlates into the speed of promotion for Gen Y workers or the lack thereof. While it’s no secret that Gen Y workers are more technologically savvy than older workers, those are not the top skills that managers look for most when promoting. The top three skills that are most important to managers when promoting are prioritizing work (87%), a positive attitude (86%), and teamwork skills (86%). These skills are generally categorized as "soft skills" and apparently the main skills that Gen Y workers seem to lack.

Herein lies issue; because Gen Y workers rely so heavily on technology, they expect quick results, and lack in the soft skills area. They rely more on technology to communicate with people and as a result are not able to build relationships with people as effectively as they should, says Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding. So while Millennials may have the hard skills necessary to complete the job at hand, they may not have the skills to elevate them to that next rung on the corporate ladder. Because Millennials are impatient and perceive their workplace in a different way, they are ready to jump ship at work in a matter of just a few years. According to the study, 75% of managers say it takes four or more years for someone to be promoted while only 66% of Gen Y workers believe the same. 91% of Gen Y workers plan to leave their job in three years according to the Future Workplace Multiple Generations @ Work” survey.

The overall conclusion of the study is that Gen Y workers need to learn how to become more patient when working towards advancement in their positions at work. Maybe managers also need to communicate, mentor, and review Millennials more often so that there is no confusion as to what is expected of them. Maybe planning out a detailed career map and specific salary ranges once they hit certain goals would help. And Millenials would gain from learning more soft skills such as having a positive attitude, a good work ethic, and being a great team member.

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