Put more than one economist in a room and chances are slim they'll find much to agree on. However, lately there seems to be a consensus forming among economists that the economy's trajectory is heading up. That’s great news for struggling young people. But the question still remains how they will recover from having spent some important formative years mired in one of the worst recessions in decades.
The young are often perceived as crusaders for a better, cleaner, fairer way of doing business, and there is some evidence that this folk wisdom on youthful idealism is correct. A recent analysis by Pew found that the younger the person, the more likely they are to support clean energy and environmental protections.
As Boomers gradually retire and your organization hires more young workers, your office may change. The median age will drop, the average wardrobe alter and, with team-happy young people filling the cubicles, the place may be a bit chattier, but these are all relatively cosmetic shifts. Are there any more fundamental ways that Gen Y is changing the office?
An article in New York magazine recently set off a bit of an online shouting match between 20-something Gen Yers and representatives of the smaller and less intensely examined generation a decade or so older than them. (And if that’s not complicated enough for you, the conversation spurred those caught in the middle to declare that they’re entitled to their own label as well -- hello, "Generation Catalano!")
What is the one thing you can be sure your youngest employees straight out of school know how to do? Anecdotal horror stories suggest that sometimes their knowledge of corporate culture isn’t up to snuff. Certainly they won’t be subject matter experts on your firm’s processes and proprietary tech, and a few might not even have honed basic work skills like communicating professionally in writing. But there is one thing they clearly couldn’t have gotten this far without – knowing how to learn.
It’s rough out there for recent college grads. With the group experiencing sky-high unemployment and even more rampant underemployment, those lucky few young people with a career track job are probably feeling pretty lucky. And a bit scared.
When the parents of so-called Gen Y (aka the Millennials) graduated from college or high school, they knew exactly what to do: Get a job. Their employers may have changed periodically as they climbed the proverbially career ladder, but the basic concept that adults had full-time jobs with single employers over periods of years was pretty much a given.
For as long as there have been generations, there have been clashes between them. After all, Aristophanes was complaining about spoiled, disrespectful children four centuries before Christ. Despite this long history of generational conflict, the current moment seems particularly rich in animosity between the old and the young -- at least if the accusations flying around the media recently are anything to go on.
On the Mindflash blog before we’ve pointed out there’s plenty of evidence for a training crisis in American business, with various experts and surveys bemoaning a "sink or swim" approach to on-boarding new employees. But is one group in particular especially underserved by current approaches to training?