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Employers fail to understand what young staff want

29 January 2015

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There are discrepancies between what young people want from their careers, and what their employers think they want, claims research.

A survey conducted by Penna surveyed 1,000 senior managers and 1,000 Gen Y employees (staff members aged between 18-34).

It found that Gen Y employees rate achieving a work-life balance as the most important factor in their career, whereas their employers believed that they were looking to experience a wide range of jobs.

The research split Gen Y employees into two groups: those aged 18-24 year-olds and those aged 25-34 year-olds. Younger employees are more driven by leading a team (21%), compared to those aged 25-34 (17%). However, employers believe managing a team is more important to older Gen Y staff (28%).

Those aged 25-34 also rated the importance of work-life balance much higher (44% compared to 31%). Employers underrated the importance of work-life balance for younger employees (18% believed it was important to 18-24-year-olds and 27% said it was important to 25-34-year-olds).

Penna head of career development, Steven Ross, warned. “We cannot just assume that younger generations in the workplace are automatically going to want to fill the shoes of todays’ leaders and managers.

“There is work to be done in casting away stereotypes and making sure that managers invest time in regular career conversations with their teams to really understand what drives them.

“Simply guessing what will engage a Gen Y employee, or any employee for that matter, won’t work. Organisations that fail to do so could see a decline in engagement levels, and productivity, and increased attrition rates.”