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Everything you know about Generation Y is wrong, finds new report


Less than a third of 15-34 year olds believe companies should allow employees to use social media at work, according to a report that debunks myths about Generation Y.


Young women are least likely to want to mix social media and work, says the report, Decoding Social Media at Work, produced by strategic consultancy Decode. Only 26% of women agree companies should allow their employees to use social media at work while 36% of men agree.

Meanwhile, just over a quarter (26%) of women are happy with employers finding them on social media sites compared to 38% of men. Generation Y women are also unhappy with employers looking at their social media activity, with 45% against this compared to 33% of Generation Y men.

"Everything you know about Generation Y is wrong," said Decode CEO Robert Barnard. "Most people think that the most digital generation ever will be clamouring to make work all about social media, but in reality Generation Y still wants to separate their personal space from their workplace."

Barnard pointed out that the company’s research finds that, contrary to many employers’ beliefs, members of Generation Y would like to find an employer where they could spend their whole career and think that their employer will be loyal to them if they work hard. However, he added: "Often when Generation Y gets into an organisation it gets this loyalty beaten out."

The report is based on research conducted in the UK, US and Canada with more than 4,500 15-34 year-olds. It also finds that Generation Y women use their offline support networks far more to discuss career matters than men. Some 62% of women talk about jobs offline compared to only 50% of men. Young couples talk most about their work and careers, both through online (30%) and offline communication (63%). Young parents talk least about their work, online (22%) and offline (51%).

Barnard added that deep-grained views on Generation Y failed to take into account the fact that all generations base their perception of what is normal on formative experiences, such as family structures, major events and their educational experience, rather than their age. "Generations are not the same everywhere," he said. "For example, a quarter of Generation Y has children. This will have a major impact on their job decisions."

Other research conducted by Decode across the world finds that 57% of Generation Y has given money to a charity or community group in the past 12 months and that, when asked who they would select as a leader for a new society, president Obama tops the list, followed by Richard Branson and, in third place, themselves.