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Bosses Don't Think Highly of Gen Y Workers

disagreement . / Credit: Worker Fight Image via Shutterstock

Generation Y workers and their bosses are not on the same page when it comes to their feelings about one another. New research has found that bosses do not hold their youngest workers in a very high regard. 

Overall, Gen Y workers — those between ages 22 and 29 — say they feel their bosses offer them experience, wisdom and a mentoring opportunity. Those positive feelings are not  reciprocated, though. Managers say Gen Y workers have unrealistic compensation demands, a poor work ethic and poor concentration and focus.

"Gen Y’s are crucial to the development and growth of our economy, yet managers have a negative impression of them and it’s creating workplace drama," said Dan Schawbel, author of "Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success" (St. Martin's Press 2013) and founder of Millennial Branding, which conducted the research along with American Express. "Managers should be setting proper expectations, giving them career support and help them develop the skills they will need today and in the future." [Read related article: Gen Y Defies Negative Stereotypes in Workplace]

Despite their differences, there are a number of things that the groups agree on. First, workers and managers believe that soft skills — skills associated with personality traits, communication and etiquette — are the most important skills workers can possess. Hard skills or skills that can be taught or measured and tech skills are also highly sought by employees and their managers alike.   

Bosses are also very supportive of the entrepreneurial efforts of younger workers. Nearly 60 percent of bosses say they are extremely supportive of the entrepreneurial efforts of Gen Y workers and 73 percent of bosses are supportive of Gen Y workers moving around within an organization. However, fewer than 50 percent of Gen Y workers say they are interested in starting their own business or moving within an organization.

Social media also muddies the relationship of bosses and their younger employees, the research reveals. Just 14 percent of managers say they are comfortable connecting with their employees on Facebook, while 24 percent say they are comfortable connecting on LinkedIn. Workers, on the other hand, are more comfortable about connecting with bosses on social media platforms. Gen Y workers are also more comfortable about making introductions through social media than bosses.

Other findings of the research include:

  • 53 percent of Gen Y workers say they think a mentoring relationship would help them in their job.
  • 66 percent of managers and their workers say in-person communication remains the best means of interaction.
  • 75 percent of managers say it takes at least four years to become a manager, while 32 percent say it can take up to eight years. Sixty-six percent of Gen Y workers say it can take four years to become a manger, while 27 percent say it can take eight years.

The research was based on the responses of 1,000 managers and 1,000 Generation Y workers.