Generation Y choose greater flexibility over financial reward, PwC study reveals

Tom Newcombe , 22 Apr 2013


Generation Y would choose workplace flexibility, work/life balance and the opportunity for overseas assignments over financial rewards, a study published by PwC has found.

The PwC NextGen survey of 44,000 workers, in conjunction with the London Business School and the University of Southern California, reveals Generation Y are more likely to stay in a job if they feel supported and appreciated, are part of a cohesive team and have greater flexibility over where and how much they work.

This contrasts with previous generations, who place greater importance on pay and development opportunities.

The survey found flexibility is a key priority for both generations of workers, with 21% of female and 15% of male respondents saying they would give up some of their pay and delay a promotion in exchange for more workplace flexibility. However, unlike past generations who were willing to work beyond their contracted hours in the hope of rising to higher-paying positions later on, generation Y are largely unwilling to give up a good work/life balance.

This generation of workers is not convinced that such early career sacrifices are worth the potential later rewards, the survey revealed.

Gaenor Bagley, head of people at PwC, said: "Generation Y want more from their jobs than just financial reward. A strong and supportive team, flexibility and work/life balance are far more likely to keep this generation motivated at work and many would be willing to forgo pay rises and promotions for greater flexibility.

"They view work as a thing, rather than a place, so companies will need to free themselves from the traditional nine to five mentality if they want to attract and retain this generation of workers."

Bagley added: "This generation will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 so it is vital employers understand what motivates this generation. Many companies will have to completely re-think how they attract and reward their workers, or risking losing the best talent to companies which adapt to meet their needs."

Generation Y workers are those born between 1980 and 1995.

The NextGen survey is based on responses from 44,000 employees with more than 300 interviews and focus groups across 18 global territories.

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Marylou Lousvet 22 Apr 2013

A very impressive and large survey has reinforced evidence gathered by others that generation Y have a different attitude to work. The article in HRM concentrated on the implications for attracting and rewarding talent but the findings have wider implications about how the whole organisation arranges and manages work. The managers - most probably from a previous generation - will need to change their practices and attitude if the gen Y staff are to enjoy their work and stay. Managing by outcomes, remote communcitaion, not expecting long hours etc may be diffilcut to adopt.

Well they would say that, wouldn't they?

Carol H Scott 25 Apr 2013

So The PwC NextGen survey reveals Generation Y are more likely to stay in a job if they feel supported and appreciated, are part of a cohesive team and have greater flexibility over where and how much they work. 'And so say all of us' comes the cry of every employee, manager and business owner. So business has now got to change to suit GenY, rather than GenY fit in with the needs of business and industry? I am no fan of the long hours culture and presenteeism has no place in any business. We read many of these GenX and GenY reports which appear to be heavy on GenY's 'wish list', but what they are light on are what GenY actually are bringing to the party? We are working flat out to put the 'Great' back into Britain in one of the worst crises known to man, but none of that is reflected in any of such reports or what GenY can offer to help get us out. What was it JFK said so long ago - ask not what your country can do for you but instead ask what you can do for your country?

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