A movement to change America’s corporate culture may be on the way. Today’s college graduates have different ideas of success than previous generations, and will likely start demanding the changes many parents have quietly desired. Employers may soon realize they must create a more flexible work environment in order to recruit and retain young talent.
“Generation Y” born somewhere between the early 80’s and the late 90s, seems to have their work/life priorities in order. See the recent BusinessWeek article here, that points out that these workers are generally more motivated by personal self-fulfillment than success climbing the traditional career ladder.
I teach at a small college and I’ve seen the shift in the priorities of today’s college students. Every year my Introduction to Business class comprised mostly of freshman researches a career of interest. At first I was surprised by how many students chose to research starting a business. But then I figured out they don’t want to work for someone else. They watched their parents work under inflexible conditions and they want a different kind of lifestyle.
In addition to their own desire to have time in their lives for something more than work, Gen Y knows that you don’t have to be tucked into a sunless cubicle to work. They grew up in an era of rapidly advancing technology and they know how to work remotely. They worked on group projects without ever meeting in person, and worked on class assignments on laptops while sitting on the college green.
Maybe as parents we should embrace today’s youth and work with them to start making real change in the work world. The only way companies will start offering more flexible work options is if workers start demanding them.