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Employers don’t understand Gen Y motivators

There is a mismatch between what employers think Gen Y staff want from their careers and what younger employers actually want, according to research conducted by Penna.

Penna surveyed 1,000 senior managers and 1,000 Gen Y employees (aged between 18 and 34). According to the results, employers rate leading a team and experiencing lots of different jobs and sectors as the most important motivators for Gen Y.

However, Gen Y employees themselves rate achieving a work-life balance and ‘being totally fulfilled and happy in my work’ as the most important drivers, alongside earning a good salary.

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 this might mean a shortage in management in future. “We cannot just assume that younger generations in the workplace are automatically going to want to fill the shoes of todays’ leaders and managers,” he said.

“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,” he added.

“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.”