​Generation Y: strengths and weaknesses

Published on: 08 Sep 07:59

The Generation Y is said to be selfish, spoiled, undedicated and instead of reading informative books and building real relationships, they are sitting in front of their computer or smartphones communicating with their 500 „friends“. Because of their high demands on the world of work, human resource managers consider the digital natives as incompatible and disloyal job hoppers, changing their employers with every small matter. They only want to have fun and holidays but still enough money for doing nothing.

But is that true? Or are they only clichés?

Alice Donovan Rouse

Cliché No.1 : Digital Natives are disloyal job hoppers

According to estimates, millenials will have had 10 different jobs at the age of 38. It’s true that they change the job easily and that loyalty towards the employer is not important to them. But this is mainly because of the millions of possibilities that young people have nowadays, so that they find it difficult to focus on only one thing for a long time. Therefore, digital natives only stay with their employers between one and two years or just until they’ve finished a project before searching again something else for making new experiences.

Besides, members of the Generation Y grew up in a world of crisis (terrorist attacks, Afghan crisis, climate change, financial crisis, etc.), whereby they got used to insecurity and conversions. They learned that nothing lasts forever and are adapting themselves by being open-minded. This doesn’t necessarily have to be negative. Instead, the Generation Y is the most flexible, spontaneous and – due to the globalisation – most international as well as multilingual generation ever. Thanks to their many job changes, they’ve already made a lot of experiences at an early age and got to know different perspectives.

Cliché No. 2: Millennials want everything immediately without making any effort

Yes, the biggest deficit of the millennials is their impatience. But only because they’re used to getting all they want very quickly. That’s due to the fact that they never witnessed neither mass unemployment nor hardship, but also because today’s consumer society provides everything immediately. But work life is quite different. Experience and patience are playing an important role. But members of the Generation Y underestimate that importance and would like to make an impact immediately instead of working hard for a long time for achieving something. This thinking originates also in the fact, that from the cradle they were told they were the best and that they could do anything they want. It is therefore no wonder, that more and more millennials want to launch a new start-up, or become a YouTube star or an influencer.

Cliché No.3: The Generation Y is lazy and disrespectful towards authorities

Actually, millennials don’t like authoritarian environments. They don’t care about the ranking, they prefer flat hierarchies and cooperations as well as communication as equals. They rather work individually and independently than being controlled all the time and like employers who accept other opinions and criticism. Besides, it’s important to digital natives that the values of the company coincide with theirs, because they want to do a meaningful and reasonable work as well as work in a corresponding work environment.

However, the millennials are not lazy at all. According to studies, they work at least as hard as their predecessors or even more (>40h). Some of them have two or three jobs at the same time what makes them multitasking capable. Although most of them already are academics, they seek challenges and additional training for employment which makes them work motivated and efficiently.

Simon Sinek has an interesting point of view on this subject in „Millennials in the workplace“:



Absolventa (2017): »XYZ - Generationen auf dem Arbeitsmarkt«, in: https://www.absolventa.de/karriereguide/berufseins... (17.08.2018)

Appel, Wolfgang/Michel-Dittgen, Birgit (eds. (2013)): »Digital Natives: Was Personaler über die Generation Y wissen sollten«, Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler Verlag

Bund, Kerstin (2014): »Glück schlägt Geld: Was wir wirklich wollen«, Hamburg: Murmann Verlag
Bund, Kerstin (2014): »Wir sind jung und brauchen das Glück: Wie die Generation Y die Berufswelt verändert und warum alle von diesem Wandel profitieren.«, in: https://www.zeit.de/2014/10/generation-y-glueck-geld (28.08.2018)
Greiner, Lena (2018): »So haben die Millennials die Arbeitswelt verändert«, in: http://www.spiegel.de/karriere/generation-y-so-haben-die-millennials-die-arbeitswelt-bereits-veraendert-a-1195595.html (17.08.2018)
Gruenderszene: »Generation Y«, in: https://www.gruenderszene.de/lexikon/begriffe/generation-y (17.08.2018)
Hurrelmann, Klaus/Albrecht, Erik (2016): »Die heimlichen Revolutionäre. Wie die Generation Y unsere Welt verändert«, Weinheim: Beltz Verlag
Kane, Sally (2018): »The Common Characteristics of Generation Y Professionals«, in: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/common-characteristics-of-generation-y-professionals-2164683 (28.08.2018)
Manzin, Tommaso (2016): »Generation X, Y oder Z? Die az erklärt die Unterschiede«, in: https://www.aargauerzeitung.ch/wirtschaft/generation-x-y-oder-z-die-az-erklaert-die-unterschiede-130389714 (17.08.2018)
Mörstedt, Antje-Britta: »Erwartungen der Generation Z an die Unternehmen«, in: https://www.pfh.de/fileadmin/Content/PDF/forschungspapiere/vortrag-generation-z-moerstedt-ihk-goettingen.pdf (17.08.2018)
Neon (2017): »8 Mythen über Millennials - und wie sie wirklich sind«, in: https://www.stern.de/neon/feierabend/milennials--acht-mythen-und-fuenf-fakten-ueber-generation-y-7481784.html (17.08.2018)
Osman, Jakob (2017): »Gute Nacht, Millennials!«, in: http://www.manager-magazin.de/unternehmen/karriere/generation-y-millennials-sind-ueberfordert-und-ueberschaetzt-a-1166054.html (17.08.2018)
Parment, Anders (2013): »Die Generation Y: Mitarbeiter der Zukunft motivieren, integrieren, führen«, Wiesbaden: Gabler Verlag
Stratmann, Guido: »Zielgruppe Millennials - die “digitale” Generation und ihre Bedürfnisse«, in:
https://www.marketingimpott.de/blog/zielgruppe-millennials-die-digitale-generation-und-ihre-beduerfnisse/ (17.08.2018)
The Guardian: »They don't live for work ... they work to live«, in: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2008/may/25/workandcareers.worklifebalance (28.08.2018)
WJSchroer: »Generations X,Y, Z and the others«, in: http://socialmarketing.org/archives/generations-xy-z-and-the-others/ (17.08.2018)