What Employers Should Know About Gen Y Employees

employee screening, employee background checkThink you know what makes your 20- to 30-year-old employees tick? Many older bosses believe that this group values the security of a big corporation, with strict schedules and lots of rules—but they are mistaken.

A new study by PayScale.com, a salary-comparison site, says that Gen Ys, born between 1982 and 1993, are more entrepreneurial, and would rather work in looser environments, with flexible policies and more freedom to make decisions. The study’s other findings shed light on this highly educated, social media-focused group:

Education level:

  • Percent of Gen Ys with bachelor’s degrees: 63.
  • 12.8% of Gen Ys have earned master’s degrees.
  • Percent with high school diploma only: 3.

Company size:

  • Gen Y work force employed by small companies (less than 100 employees): 47%.
  • Percent employed by companies with 1,500 or more employees: 23.
  • Median years with employers: 2 (compared to 7 for baby boomers).

The most common job skills reported by Gen Ys were software, blogging, social media optimization, press releases and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) analysis. These skills are most likely to be utilized in online marketing and media positions—except for PCR analysis, which is biochemical-related. Considering that this generation grew up with computer technology, it’s not surprising that they are comfortable with social media.

This group also embraces science and engineering. Common majors include neuroscience, chemical engineering, petroleum engineering and bioengineering, which also pay better than many fields. Only 15% of Gen Ys are currently working at the management level, according to the study, but most are very entrepreneurial, ready to start businesses without much hesitation.

Employers can harness the creativity and drive of this group by providing challenges, offering flexibility and including them on decision-making. Tap into their entrepreneurial streaks by asking for input on new products, sales and marketing channels, and technology. And don’t let too-stodgy rules dampen their spirit and inspire them to look elsewhere for employment. Think about easing up on policies such as no social media while on the clock—you may find your Gen Y staff promoting your company and creating conversations!

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