The Rise of Gen Y in the Workplace

by Janet Pinkerton | Aug 21, 2013

Younger workers from Generation Y (20 to 34 years old) are replacing the retiring Baby Boomers in the workforce. New generational research from CompTIA indicates that, as Gen Y assumes the prime labor role, these younger workers will bring new preferences, new behaviors, and new expectations—especially with regard to how technology is used in the workplace.

A few of the insights from the study, Generational Research on Technology and its Impact in the Workplace:

  • Gen Y employment hasn’t come easy—unemployment stood at 13.2% among 20 to 24 year olds, compared to just 5.3% for workers 55 and older in May 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Technology is a part of Gen Y’s self-image: 65% of Gen Y workers claim either “cutting-edge technology usage” or “upper tier use of technology” — compared to only 32% of Boomers making that self-assessment.

  • Smartphones are standard Gen Y workplace tools: 74% of Gen Y workers used one for work purposes in the last year, compared with 37% of Boomers.

  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the norm: Nearly two-thirds of Gen Y workers use a personal device or application at work, compared with just a third of Baby boomers.

  • Gen Y seeks training more often: Three out of 10 20-somethings have sought voluntary training, compared with an average of 2 in 10 in the Boomers and Gen X age groups.

  • Gen Y embraces e-learning: 45% of Gen Y workers have used e-learning to train within the past 12 months, a significantly higher rate than the 34% average for all age groups.

  • Training sees a Gen Y gender divide: Three in 10 young female workers reported participating in no training at all, compared with 17 percent of Gen Y males. While 34% of males said their employer required them to attain a professional certification or credential of some type, only 24 percent of Gen Y females answered similarly.

  • Gen Y wants expanded training options: Nearly half of workers in their 20s and 30s said the use of mobility and social media as platforms for professional development and training would be beneficial. More than a third of the Gen Y group wants to train via simulation-type games (compared to just 8% of Baby Boomers who considered it a potentially useful resource).

  • Younger office workers are slightly more open to emerging methods of IT support: 20- and 30-something workers look for more touch points for IT support such as video chat or text.

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