The recent post pointing to blogger Lindsey Pollak's celebration of her Gen Y assistant stirred up controversy in the comments, as many readers objected to stereotyping and argued that diversity within generations is equal to or greater than between them. Point well taken -- general traits of Gen Y taken from surveys and research don't guarantee that any one individual will fit the generational mold, but that doesn't mean that on average Gen Y doesn't differ from older cohorts. BusinessWeek's First Jobs blog, for example, offers some thought-provoking research on one marked trait of the youngest workers taken from a survey of 60,000 undergraduates:
Apparently students still value work-life balance above all else when listing top characteristics of an ideal entry-level employer, placing it well above other factors such as salary and meaningful work. This according to Tracy Lynn Drye, the Senior VP of Employer Branding & University Relations at Universum USA, the research firm BusinessWeek partners with for the student data portion of our Best Places to Launch a Career ranking. Drye says that work/life balance usually drops on students' lists of priorities during recessions, but not this time around.Drye notes both that this generation is both unafraid to ask for things older generations didn't and that a decent work/life does actually improve effectiveness. This balance is also easier to achieve in an era of cell phones and ubiquitous broadband. The jury is still out, however, on whether the statistics "play into the stereotype of Millennials/Gen Y as a rather entitled, spoiled group of young workers."
Do you think Gen Y's insistence on work/life balance will have a lasting and positive effect on companies, or is this just the idealistic dream of a group that hasn't yet faced the realities of the workforce?