Older Workers, Millennials At Odds in the Office But Can Agree on Some Things

August 24, 2012  |  

With more millennials entering the workforce, employers are adjusting company policies — from promotion procedures to work schedules — to accommodate the most talented of this demographic. However, the concessions are rankling older workers.

Millennials or Generation Y, defined as those born in the 1980s and 1990s, are an important workforce pipeline as baby boomers retire. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that millennials will make up 40 percent of the workforce by 2020. These workers are credited with being tech savvy, collaborative and willing to work long hours if the working conditions are right.

The perceived special treatment is rubbing some of the experienced workers the wrong way, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Just this week, The Washington Post published an opinion piece noting the bad rep that millennials have, but also pointing out the improvements that their presence could make. Americans work hundreds of hours more than workers in other developed countries. And for our hard work, we miss out on life.

Gen Y workers will live with parents, work odd jobs, and leave a position in pursuit of their “dream job,” that article says. Moreover, they’re aggressive, asking directly for what they want.

“Beyond that, Gen Y’s demands may eventually help bring about the family-friendly policies for which working mothers have been leading the fight,” the article says. “Now everybody wants to leave the office at 5:30. Because they’ve got band practice. Or dinner with their grandma. Or they need to walk their rescue puppy.”

The author, Emily Matchar, emphasizes that the things the younger generation of workers want are the same things that the older ones desire. So many the generation gap isn’t as wide as we thought.


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