As millennials become the dominant presence in the workplace, employers will need to adapt to meet their technological needs, new research shows.
A study by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the information technology industry, reveals that Generation Y workers (ages 18 to 33), who are much more astute in their technology skills than any prior age group, are forcing employers to re-evaluate how they hire, train and equip current and future work forces.
"Generation Y has been raised in technology and they consider their aptitude for tech as a value that they bring to the table when seeking a job," said Todd Thibodeaux, president and chief executive officer of CompTIA. "An employer's tech 'savvy-ness' is very high on their checklist on whether to take a job or not."
The research found that two-thirds of millennial employees assess their own technology skills as "cutting edge" or "upper tier."
Additionally, three-quarters of Gen Y workers used a smartphone for work purposes in the last year compared with less than 40 percent of Baby Boomers. The study discovered that millennial workers also consider social media a work tool, while Baby Boomers see it as more of a personal tool.
"Factors like these may require employers to adapt to Gen Y's expectations," Thibodeaux said.
Adapting to a younger work force will likely extend into the areas of training. The research found that e-learning is especially appealing to Gen Y workers, who want to be independent in how they choose to interact with technology, deciding their own pace and not being forced to interrupt normal workflow for training.
Thibodeaux said this hands-on attitude also impacts technical support in the workplace.
"They often will try to troubleshoot the problem first on their own end," he said of Gen Y employees. "That's different than older workers who want to hand off the problem and get it back when it's finished."
The study was based on surveys of 700 employees from different age groups and generations in a variety of industries.