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Gen Y The Reflexive Generation The Report


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  • 1. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender
  • 2. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 2 Looking back in history, the assumption that the The Reflexive Generation next generation will be fundamentally different The new generation is currently a hotly debated from what has come before, has been a topic. However, many commentators do not common phenomenon. Currently, the agree on how to name this generation - assumption is that young professionals from Generation Y and Millennials are the most The Reflexive Generation: Generation Y are very different from any previous popular names - or how old this generation is generation. Organisations realise that they do not - the consensus seems to lie between people yet understand the needs and perspectives of born between 1977 to 2000. The characteristics Young Professionals’ this generation and have started to explore how this generation is supposed to have are equally this generation can be managed. contested and sometimes conflicting. Generation Looking at gender, it appears that a fundamental Y people are seen as independent, confident, Perspectives on Work, change in perspective is needed to make use of the diverse talent in the workplace. The gender demography of most organisations follows the diverse, collaborative and selfish. Many of these characteristics seem to match more the stereotype than the reality. However, what is clear Career and Gender 50:30:10 rule. On entry level there are equal numbers of men and women. In mid- management, the percentage of women drops to is that this generation has grown up in a very specific period of time where jobs for life are no more and the world is becoming a global village. 30% and in the most senior ranks there are Generation Y is also said to be a generation Executive Summary usually no more than 10% women. In the first where gender differences are no longer an issue. report of the Centre for Women in Business we Women of Generation Y are assumed to be as have shown what organisations do to address the confident and ambitious as men. 50:30:10 problem (Gratton, Kelan, & Walker, Many of these assumptions are based on 2007). We followed up on this study by hearsay but rigorous academic research is highlighting why having 50% men and 50% missing. This new generation has literally grown women in teams makes business sense in up with technology – they came of age when new regards to innovation (Gratton, Kelan, Voigt, technologies such as personal computers, Walker, & Wolfram, 2007). mobile phones and the Internet developed. What Our third study now takes a closer look at the is unique about this generation is that they are entry-level in organisations. We examined the completely at home with these technologies; they extent to which this new generation brings form the largest group of users of social network different attitudes and perspectives to work, technologies such as Facebook and Twitter (even career and gender. We selected the term though other generations are catching up). ‘reflexive’ to characterise this generation because These new technologies have shaped the this generation is constantly reflecting back on interactional patterns of this generation. For the relationship between self, work and life. In a example, rather than waiting patiently for a time when old structures like jobs for life are promotion, this generation is said to want withering away, the individual is increasingly in immediate gratification and feedback just like charge of shaping his or her own career and life they receive in online interactions. (Beck, 2000). The young professionals of the Assessing generational change is of course a Reflexive Generation are aware of the fact that difficult endeavour. One could say that what we they need to re-invent themselves to author their see with Generation Y at the moment is more an own life stories. expression of the life phase young professionals © 2009 All rights reserved.
  • 3. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 3 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 4 are in and an expression of individuality, as Research Design interviewed 21 men and 21 women in total, and about the impact of work on their life and saw young people will differ markedly from one our sample included 12 nationalities, with the long hours working culture as harmful to Given the plethora of studies on Generation Y, we another. While changes in generations will only participants from all five continents. The average them. Regardless of which stance the young felt that it was necessary to add a gender become visible over time, this research provides age of the interviewees was 26 with the MBA professionals took in respect to work-life balance perspective to these debates and to use different a snapshot of how young professionals feel now. participants slightly older than those from one thing was clear: the single most important methodologies to assess the degree to which corporations. The interviews lasted 45 to 90 element in relation to work-life balance is that We have called this generation the Reflexive there is generational change. In our previous minutes and were audio and visually recorded. they want autonomy over when and how to work. Generation. We call them reflexive because this work at the Centre for Women in Business we This autonomy is closely linked to the idea of generation is constantly reflecting back on the used quantitative methodologies to gather a relationship between self, work and life. In a time breadth of information. In this research we The Reflexive Generation: self-managing and being in charge. when old structures like jobs for life are withering decided instead to use qualitative methodologies. Research Insights Challenging Careers away, the individual is increasingly in charge of These methodologies allow us to create a much When we talked about careers, young Self-Managed Work shaping his or her own career and life (Beck, deeper insight into the mindset of the young professionals were clear that the most important 2000). This unique time presents younger professionals we studied. Qualitative research Managing Generation Y aspect to them is challenge. They want to have a generations with the opportunity but also the aims for depth rather than breadth, is inductive When we talked with the young professionals career where they are challenged and can grow challenge of choosing the right life path. and theory generating and focuses on a much about their work it became clear that this with the challenges. Rather than being bored, Individuals will have to reinvent themselves at smaller number of people. The goal is to create a generation has a strong need to self-manage they prefer jobs which stretch them and if they various times throughout their life course. Young deeper understanding of those we are their work. They want to be given goals and are no longer challenged they would consider professionals from Generation Y have researching. targets but want to be left to their own devices to moving on. internalised this reflexive pattern. They reflect get the job done. We found that they want their We used in-depth interviewing techniques and The second most important aspect of careers for upon their life and career options and make managers to be coaches – to help them to analysed the results through discourse analysis Generation Y was self-improvement and choices about which roads to take. These navigate their work and life and to support their (Potter & Wetherell, 1987) which explores the enjoyment. Self-improvement relates closely to choices are influenced by their own experiences. development. In order for this development to interpretative repertoires or ‘off-the-shelf’ the idea of challenge. They wanted to improve Thereby their own experiences form part of the occur feedback is essential and these young explanations people have available to make themselves through formal and informal options they choose for their future development. professionals are eager to get as much feedback sense of themselves and the world in which they education to avoid stagnating. People used In that sense young professionals are reflexive as possible, and as quickly as possible. This live. We also made use of picture prompts to phrases like ‘writing one’s own life story’, showing about their work, life and career. They are in a feedback helps them to stay on track. explore how young professionals think about that the individual is in charge of shaping his or feedback loop where their past influences their certain aspects of their life such as work-life Work-life Balance her own career. present and future experience. This feedback balance, diversity and corporate social Work-life balance was something that young loop allows them to re-invent themselves to Enjoyment also ranked highly. Young responsibility. The interviews were transcribed professionals saw as important particularly in author their own life stories. professionals did not want to feel as if they verbatim and then systematically coded into relation to technology. Many spoke of technology We focus on three interrelated aspects of this sections of material using the qualitative software simply have to work – but also want to enjoy their as a ‘double-edged sword’: it allows them to work jobs. Finally, it is clear that colleagues are Generation Y feedback loop. First, work is NVivo, where emerging themes and issues were flexibly but they recognised the negative work-life important to them. Many young professionals characterised by self-management and the need addressed and analysed in detail. balance impact. talked about their colleagues as friends and saw for instant gratification and feedback. Second, For this research we defined Generation Y as There was not a unitary perspective on work-life them as an important aspect of having fun at careers should be challenging for this generation, people who were born between 1977 and 1987, balance; instead three types of perspectives work. Interestingly, we found that activities and young professionals stress the importance of which captures the older cohort of this arose. Some people worked long hours and saw related to corporate social responsibility were less self-development to author one’s own career. generation. We focused on young professionals this as essential for their job and to get ahead. important for job choices. Third, for this generation, diversity is a fact of life. from Generation Y, and we sampled from two We call them the excessives. A second group, While many claim that there has been a change corporations (16 interviews for each organisation, the balancers, focused more on achieving A Different World…Parents’ Careers in gender relations in recent years, the research with 8 men and 8 women) and from young work-life balance through for instance not Most young professionals emphasised that their showed that some elements of gender relations professionals pursuing an MBA degree (10 working on weekends. The third group, the careers are going to be very different from their have not changed that significantly. interviews, with 5 men and 5 women). We skeptics, is made up of those who were clear parents’ careers. They are aware that they will
  • 4. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 5 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 6 have shorter job tenures, they talked about how their career moves on hold while others accepted However, at the same time, young professionals but we should not forget that the period of time the world they live in is a global village, and they insecurity as a fact of life. Some discussed the experienced a very traditional gender culture. in which they grew up shaped this mindset. For spoke about how they profited from educational lowering of their expectations of their jobs for fear First of all, they regularly addressed the them jobs for life and delayed gratification are opportunities. Finally, they talked about how of being unemployed, meaning that in this masculine culture of business and the young outdated concepts, and young professionals do opportunities had changed significantly with economic context they are less demanding. For professionals identified that business is a man’s not expect this. In such a situation it is not people settling down later and with many women others, unemployment was even seen as world. Second, the young professionals did surprising that keeping one’s own skills fresh and remaining in employment despite having children. opening new opportunities to travel or explore acknowledge that in the thirties something relevant and looking for new challenging different career options. Young professionals also changes when men and women have children opportunities is not an expression of egoism but Endless Opportunities… Despite the Recession? highlighted their flexibility as their greatest asset but most young professionals struggle to put their rather an expression of being realistic about the Many of the young professionals saw their career in being able to cope with the economic crisis. finger on what it is exactly that changes. Finally, workplace they inherit. characterised by endless opportunities. They During the economic crisis, the reflexive potential issues with female role models became evident. The follow-up interviews during the economic could see their careers developing in various of reinventing one’s life becomes particularly When talking about women’s networks the crisis have shown that young professionals from directions and there was no clear pattern in the visible and a useful asset. assumption was that these women’s networks Generation Y are reflecting upon and integrating responses they provided. They see the world were for older women and not for younger the economic changes into their relationship to open to them for their taking and believe they are The Aftermath of Gender women. It was also regularly addressed that work and life in difficult times. This generation of in charge of building their careers through taking there is competition among women and that Diversity young professionals are reflexive when it comes positions that would provide opportunities for older women are less willing to help women up When asked about how important diversity is for to their own careers and lives. What also seems self-development. the ladder. Senior women were often seen in them, most young professionals stated that it was to be specific for this time is that gender equality Within corporate research on this topic and in negative terms such as being too emotional and is now expected and taken for granted. This does ‘fairly important’, followed by ‘really important’, thereby not suitable as role models. the popular press, there is the idea that people of not mean that gender inequality has withered and then by ‘not important at all’. The most Generation Y are leaving organisations to a There were few gender differences in the away but rather that it has taken on new shapes commonly cited form of diversity was nationality greater degree than other generations. We found responses overall, supporting the idea that men and forms. This requires ever-changing and ethnicity, followed by gender, religion and that one of the most common reasons given for and women of Generation Y have very similar responses to inequalities to allow people to age. Most people agreed that diversity is leaving an organisation was that individuals had ideas about work and career. It was also flourish in future workplaces. Young enriching because a diverse group of people not been promoted or were not developing any noticeable that men and women talked about professionals of the Reflexive Generation are in produces better solutions and ideas. However, more. Young professionals wanted to pick up having children and many young men voiced an ideal position to shape their own life courses the strongest opinion about diversity was that it is new skills and work on engaging projects to that they would like to take active roles as by reflecting upon, referring to, and making a fact of life. This generation would not expect to remain motivated. There was also a gender angle fathers. This was in contrast to the fact that the sense of past experiences and potential futures. see a workplace that is not diverse. Diversity is to the issue of retaining young professionals thirties were seen as critical for women in general accepted as normal and as nothing that needs to within organisations; some women mentioned be stressed. and shows that in their own life the young Key Insights and that the requirements of career progression in professionals would like to create more the company are less appealing to them because Experiences of Gender Recommendations egalitarian patterns. It remains to be seen if this of the energy and sacrifices in terms of work-life optimism turns into reality. These findings raise some important and Many young professionals argued that there has balance needed to have a career in the far-reaching implications for the management of been or will be a lot of progress in relation to companies. Are Young Professionals of Generation Y Really companies and of individuals. We have identified gender. Young professionals talked about how a that Different? four specific challenges: We also conducted a number of follow-up gender balance is slowly being reached. They also talked about how gender discrimination is This leads to the question regarding the extent to interviews with young professionals after the Challenge 1: The Management of Work no longer an issue of modern workplaces. The which the current generation is really different economic crisis hit to explore the extent to which One of the overriding impressions of the men glass ceiling was perceived as a thing of the past, from any previous generation. Many of the their perspectives on their career, work and life and women of this generation is their frustration and many people from this generation have the elements we uncovered, such as being in charge have changed. We found that most young with performance management practices which firm belief that equality between men and of one’s own work, career and life, are probably professionals were affected directly or indirectly are too slow, too bureaucratic and too women has been achieved and will no longer be applicable to many people. This generation by the economic downturn. Their reaction to the hierarchical. They want to learn fast, to adapt an issue for them. might be more vocal in expressing their needs, changed economic climate was varied: some put
  • 5. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 7 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 8 with speed and to change tack with elegance Therefore the boundary management is crucial Challenge 4: The Future of Flexibility Acknowledgements and to do this they need more frequent feedback in a number of key areas. These include - how It is not surprising that this generation play down We would like to acknowledge the generous and more support and mentoring. Their needs do the personal and work social networks differences between men and women. Most support of the founding sponsor Accenture and will put particular pressure on managers who are overlap? What in the public domain can be have grown up in households and schools in Allen & Overy, Barclaycard Business, Baxter already over-laden so the emphasis must be on brought into the work domain? And how can the which diversity was seen as the norm. However, International, Cargill, IBM, KMPG and Johnson & how this generation can manage their own 24-hour flow of information be shaped and whilst they themselves may believe that diversity Johnson. Various people contributed to this learning and how they can work with their peer bounded? There are very few protocols, no is a fact of their life – they observe around them research and to the conversations around it and groups to create a more frequent flow of established rules and routines, and a technology the lack of diversity. They see few women at the we would like to thank Katharine Buckley, information and feedback. One example of this etiquette (or netiquette) that is only now top, they know that many women are potentially Alexandra Budjanovcanin, Yu-Chien Chang, can be seen in the restrictions and boundaries emerging. Creating these norms and frameworks leaving after becoming mothers and they see the Rachel Dunkley Jones, Ioannis Karalis, Onur that some companies and even countries have will be an important part of creating a work life pressures their senior male and female Komurcu, Ellen Miller and Judy Wajcman in attempted to enforce through the Internet. for this generation which enables them to have colleagues are under. This worries and confuses particular for their help with the research project. Despite this repression the digital environment satisfying and balanced lives. This will be them. The men and women we spoke to wanted continues to reinvent itself. It is the smart ‘digital especially important as men and women of this to be good citizens and good parents – their References natives’ (Prensky, 2001) who collaborate globally generation work out the boundaries of work and anxiety was that they do not know how to do this. Beck, U. 2000. The Brave New World of Work. to work around these restrictions, to create home life, and in households where both Cambridge: Polity. Our research on work/home spillover has shown collaborative environments that benefit a much partners work full-time or part-time. Gratton, L. 2004. The Democratic Enterprise. that working can have positive implications for wider community than their own. Many of these London: FT Prentice Hall. Challenge 3: The Design of Work home life for men and women – and it can have ‘digital natives’ or professionals of this generation In the turbulent, fast changing world in which negative spillover for both men and women. Gratton, L., Kelan, E., Voigt, A., Walker, L., & do this outside of their professional jobs. this generation has been raised, it is no surprise What is clear to us and reinforced by the Wolfram, H.-J. 2007. Innovative Potential: Men Challenge 2: The Management of Boundaries that they value their capacity to shape their own bewilderment of this generation is that families and Women in Teams, The Lehman Brothers This generation uses technology like no other. destiny through the creation of their personal are not a ‘woman’s’ issue. Families are an issue Centre for Women in Business, London Business They reach out to peers within their businesses, human capital. They place a great deal of for men and women. So the wise executive will School, link in to associates in other businesses and emphasis on intellectual capital (the knowledge understand that flexibility is not a women issue documents/facultyandresearch/Innovative_ build a significant virtual network of friends and insights they have), social capital (the depth, – it is an issue that goes beyond gender to the Potential_NOV_2007.pdf across the globe. This is all good news for richness and extent of their networks) and core of what it is to be a human. Remember that Gratton, L., Kelan, E., & Walker, L. 2007. companies where networking and the rapid emotional capital (the means by which they many of the young people we interviewed will live Inspiring Women: Corporate Best Practice in dispersion of knowledge and collection of ideas is understand themselves and build self for more than ninety years and many will work Europe, The Lehman Brothers Centre for Women a crucial competitive advantage. However, as we knowledge). For this generation the emphasis is for much of this time. For them work life is a in Business, London Business School, http:// have seen, it raises issues of boundary on ‘work to learn’ rather than ‘work to live’. This marathon – not a sprint - and like a marathon it management. creates a crucial role in the organisation around needs to contain pacing, stamina and resilience. facultyandresearch/May_2007_Corporate_Best_ the design of what could be called ‘good work’. Right now the excitement is there – but what is The concept of a hierarchical career is based on Practice_Report.pdf. This is work that creates the context in which lacking is a road map. a traditionally male model of professional work Potter, J., & Wetherell, M. 1987. Discourse and rapid learning takes place. Good work is work Dr Elisabeth Kelan outside the home, premised on a separation social psychology: beyond attitudes and which is meaningful, which has sufficient Professor Lynda Gratton between the public and the private domains. A behaviour. London: Sage. complexity to be stretching, which has within it Dr Alice Mah conventional bureaucratic career is built on the provision of feedback and which delivers Lamia Walker Prensky, M. 2001. Digital Natives, Digital uninterrupted service to one or a few employers enough autonomy for the individual to make Immigrants, often involving geographical mobility as part of choices about how best to develop themselves writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20 career advancement. What we see now is a (Gratton, 2004). Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf. change in how boundaries are being managed not only between employer and employee but also between home and work domains.
  • 6. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 9 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 10 Generations at Work Headline here Baby Boomers Generation X Generation Y (ca. 1940-1960) (ca. 1960-1980) (ca. 1980-2000)
  • 7. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 11 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 12 What We Seem to Know About Generation Y… What Do We Know About Generation Y? 20,000,000 18-24 Age 18,000,000 16,000,000 Various and conflicting age-based definitions 14,000,000 25-34 In our case young professionals born after 1977 12,000,000 14-17 10,000,000 8,000,000 Characteristics 6,000,000 35-44 Gen Y is ascribed with various and conflicting 4,000,000 45-54 characteristics from being selfish to being 2,000,000 55-64 65+ 0 generous Age of Social Network Technology Users (Rapleaf 2008) Gender Gen Y largest proportion of social network Assumption that men and women are equally technology users confident and ambitious In-depth academic research missing
  • 8. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 13 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 14 What Can Be Said About Generations At All? The Questions We Are Asking… Life Phase Work Other generations were similar in this life stage How do young professionals of Generation Y experience work? Individuality There are differences among and between Career individuals of one generation What expectations do young professionals of Generation Y have of their long-term careers? Change Changes in the period of time in which these Gender young people grow up will only fully show in What perspectives do young professionals of the long run Generation Y have on diversity and gender?
  • 9. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 15 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 16 Qualitative Research In-Depth Interviewing and Discourse Analysis Depth rather than In-depth Interviewing breadth Allows deeper understanding of research participants’ views Inductive and Understanding theory generating Discourse Analysis As a means to understand the ‘off-the-shelf’ resources participants have access to Small heterogeneous samples
  • 10. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 17 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 18 Picture Prompts The Analysis Verbatim transcription Coding and analysis Identification of key themes and ‘interpretative repertoires’ Comparisons across sample Use of NVivo software Left image: Dresdner Kleinwort recruitment campaign 2007
  • 11. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 19 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 20 Our Sample Sample Characteristics Total Number of Interviewees 42 Nationality 12 nationalities (from all five continents) 1977-1987 Young (21-31 years at Sex 21 women, 21 men Professionals time of first MBA 10 (5 men, 5 women) interview) Organisation 1 16 (8 men, 8 women) Organisation 2 16 (8 men, 8 women) Interviews with Senior Professionals 6 Work in one of two Follow up interviews in crisis 5 organisations or pursue Average age (overall) 26 for less than an MBA degree three years Average age (MBA) 29 Average age (Organisations) 25 Length of Interview 45-90 minutes Length of transcribed interviews 500,000 words (without follow up interviews)
  • 12. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 21 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 22 The Reflexive Generation Self-Managed Work Self-Managed Self-Managed Challenging Challenging Work Work Careers • Self-management Careers • Self-management • Challenges and • Challenges and • Work-life balance • Work-life balance self-development self-development • Generation change • Generation change • Endless opportunities • Endless opportunities The Aftermath of Gender The Aftermath of Gender • Diversity as fact of life • Diversity as fact of life • Gender changes and continuities • Gender changes and continuities
  • 13. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 23 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 24 How Does Gen Y Want to be Managed? Self-Management Give them goals and let them run with it... Self-Management Give me a remit but then be hands off High level overview and then leave me to it Set goals and give vision but leave me the freedom to do it how I want to do it Have clear deliverables and sporadic checkpoints Do not give me baby steps but end goal No micro-management Feedback Coaching Do not watch me over the shoulder Trust me to do things
  • 14. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 25 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 26 Coaching Feedback Coaching managers Feedback should be... I look more for a mentor rather than a manager Constant I want to be coached Immediate I want a coaching manager A lot of it I want to be developed Constructive A manager should help me to grow A manager should develop me
  • 15. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 27 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 28 Work-Life Balance and Technology: Work-Life Balance: A Segmented Generation… The Double-Edged Sword Technology... ‘I probably work more hours than I should Excessives […] that is the nature of business’ Has massive potential ‘I slept 15 hours in five days’ Is a double-edged sword ‘It’s a time in your life when you have to put Is the spawn of the devil the hours in to accelerate your career’ You are always on, but you always have to be on, too Invades one’s life ‘I don’t work during weekends because Balancers then you risk not having a life’ Expectations that you read and reply to emails at 10pm Working longer hours can be required but Is addictive this time can be compensated later on Crackberries Facebook addicts with 750 plus friends Creates privacy/boundary issues ‘I don’t work because that’s who you are, Do you become friends with your manager? Skeptics I work to earn money so I can eat. […] They can see you drunk or on holiday My career isn’t who I am.’ Make inapproriate comments about work Living to work as social epidemic ‘I don’t want to find myself asking ‘where did my life go’
  • 16. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 29 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 30 …With A Shared Perspective Challenging Careers Self-Managed Challenging Work Careers • Self-management • Challenges and ‘I am choosing to • Work-life balance self-development work long hours’ • Generation change Autonomy • Endless opportunities Working long hours on own terms The Aftermath of Gender • Diversity as fact of life • Gender changes and continuities
  • 17. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 31 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 32 Challenging Careers What Is Less Important For These Young Professionals Challenge Self-Improvement Contradictory to perception ‘Going out of your comfort zone’ Improving yourself Socially Responsible of Generation Y Being stretched Developing skills Activities Intellectual stimulation Company sponsorship Young Professionals ‘Keeping me on my toes’ for learning (doing an reported that they Keeping busy MBA) Working for a green enjoyed CSR activities like Keeping interested Writing own story line company volunteering Task diversity of life But those with an interest No routine in social responsibility No boredom Activities that ‘create might have joined different a warm and comfy organisations Enjoyment Colleagues feeling inside’ Work does not feel like working Colleagues are friends Wanting to go to work Colleagues are like-minded Getting up in the morning and Working with them is fun looking forward to work Use their brains to solve Forgetting the time while problems working Being happy with what one does
  • 18. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 33 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 34 A Different World…Parents’ Careers Endless Opportunities…Young Professionals’ Own Careers Changing Allegiances In five to ten years, Are Young Professionals I will have… Gen Y expects no more jobs for life more likely to leave? Gen Y expects shorter tenure Developed within the company They leave if they have not been Joined a competitor promoted (men and women) Global Village Joined a customer company Gen Y has greater mobility Women were slightly more likely Moved into a different industry Gen Y perceived to have more opportunities to talk about the incompatibilities Become an entrepreneur of their own life plans with a Moved to a different country corporate career: Education Taken a sabbatical • I want to have more Gen Y saw education as central responsibility but I want to Earned a lot of money and have Some people mentioned that they were the first person in their family have work-life balance (female) a comfortable life to go to university • I am loyal to the company but Done an MBA too much effort, energy and Gender Changes Children time is needed to compete Settled down (female) Gen Y expected to settle down later Some reported that their mothers stopped working when they had Don’t know children. Men and women of Gen Y expect to remain in employment.
  • 19. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 35 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 36 Changing Perceptions? Aftermath of Gender The Economic Crisis Realistically optimist… Crisis is affecting them, their partners, their friends and their families Making sure you are useful for your company Self-Managed Challenging Work Careers Rather sit the crisis out than move jobs • Self-management • Challenges and ‘I have lower expectations and I am less demanding’ • Work-life balance self-development • Generation change More risk averse and greater need for security • Endless opportunities ‘I made a deal with insecurity. I never expected job security’ Being made redundant opens the opportunity to travel and reassess your life There are always opportunities The Aftermath of Gender • Diversity as fact of life The company needs those at the bottom and those at the top. • Gender changes and continuities Those in the middle are most dispensable. Being flexible and having a broad skills set keeps you employable
  • 20. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 37 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 38 Diversity is… What They Experience in Relation to Gender… ‘Fairly important’ Gender Balance is Improving… Followed by ‘really important’ It [the gender balance] has improved in the last 20 to 30 years (male) And ‘not important’ It was an issue of my parents’ generation (female) The experience of the glass ceiling is narrowing for my generation Nationality/Ethnicity (female) Followed by gender In 20 years there will be gender equality, because several women earn more than me (male) And Religion And Age Gender Discrimination as a Thing of the Past I don’t feel I have to break any boundaries (female) Enriching Work I never experienced discrimination (female) Better solutions I have never seen a glass ceiling (female) Learn from other people Gender discrimination no longer happens these days Getting new ideas Women no longer feel marginalised Fact of Life Diversity is accepted as normal ‘I have not had it any other way [than diverse]’ ‘It’s not something I’d ever considered. I’d never expect an organisation this day and age not to be diverse’
  • 21. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 39 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 40 …And Yet They Observe Parenthood - a Shared Issue? Women in a Masculine Culture Men and women talked about having children Women are outnumbered Some men talked about taking parental leave Work is male dominated and that provisions for paternity leave are not It’s a man’s world sufficient There is a boy’s club where men have a cigar and play golf Some women said that their partner is going Women and Men in Their Thirties to take time out to be with the children Women have babies when they are 32 Women start families at 30 Time will tell if these plans are put into Raising a family becomes important at 30, 35 (for both men and women) practice Employers think that women at 29 will go off and have children Female Role Model Identification Women’s networks are for older women (female) The women in the women’s network are more my parents’ generation (female) [Senior] women don’t like other women in the workplace (female) Female/female relationships clash more because of rivalry (female) Women are too emotional
  • 22. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 41 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 42 Are Young Professionals of Generation Y Really That Different? Key Insights and Recommendations Young Professionals reflect the period of time in which they grew up Careers for life are no more and constant self- authoring of own life is central Gender takes on new forms Young Professionals of Generation Y shape their own life course through constantly referring back to past experience to build potential futures They are a Reflexive Generation
  • 23. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 43 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 44 Challenge 1 Challenge 2 The Design of Management The Future of Flexibility My p sup eers to port me Work Home Mentor me Tell me the goal me Give ack b Families affect men and women feed Flexibility is beyond gender
  • 24. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 45 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 46 Challenge 3 Challenge 4 The Design of Work The Management of Boundaries Inte lle Cap ctual ital Building my Social Capital No protocols Human Capital Technology No established roles Individual nal No etiquette otio l Em pita Ca From Work to Live To Work to Learn Work Meaningful, Ambiguity, Feedback, Autonomy
  • 25. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 47 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 48 Thanks to our sponsors… Further Resources Andrus, L. 2008. The Millennials are here, Michigan Business Review, http://www.mlive. Kelan, E. 2008. Learning from Generation X’s com/business/west-michigan/index. Mistakes - Generational and Gender ssf/2008/06/the_millenials_are_here.html Transformations, http://www.personneltoday. com/articles/article.aspx?liarticleid=47302&pri Asthana, A. 2008. Generation Y: They don’t nterfriendly=true live for work ... they work to live, The Observer, Kelan, E. K., & Dunkley Jones, R. may/25/workandcareers.worklifebalance forthcoming. Gender and the MBA. Academy of Management Learning & Education. Braid, M. 2008. How to connect with Generation Y, The Sunday Times, http:// Kelan, E. K., & Dunkley Jones, R. 2009. Becoming a Manager: The MBA as a Rite of career_and_jobs/recruiter_forum/ Passage (discussion paper). article1813031.ece Kelan, E. K., & Mah, A. 2009. The Ambivalences Brandmercenaries. 2008. Quick Facts About of Female Role Model Identification in Generation Y. http://www.brandmercenaries. Organisations (discussion paper). com/generationystats/ Kelan, E. K., & Mah, A. 2009. Making Young Broadbridge, A. M., Maxwell, G. A., & Ogden, Professionals Brand Conform: Embodying S. M. 2007. Experiences, perceptions and Brands and Gender (discussion paper). expectations of retail employment for Generation Y. Career Development International, 12(6): 523-544. Additional Reading Eisner, S. P. 2005. Managing Generation Y. S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 70(4): 4. Ellwood, I., & Shekar, S. 2008. Wonder Allen, P. 2004. Welcoming Y. Benefits Woman - Marketing Secrets for the Trillion Canada, 28(9): 51-53. Dollar Customer. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Alsop, R. 2008. The Trophy Kids Grow Up: Erickson, T. 2008. Plugged In - The How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work. the Workplace. San Franscisco (CA): Jossey-Bass. Boston (Mass): Harvard Business Press.
  • 26. The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 49 The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender 50 Additional Reading Gribben, R. 2007. Generation Y talking about McLeod, A. 2008. Generation Y: Unlocking a revolution, The Telegraph, http://www. the talent of young managers. London: Chartered Management Institute (CKI). personalfinance/2820326/Generation-Y- talking-about-a-revolution.html NextStep. 2008. The Multi-Generational Workforce Challenge. Red City, California: Howe, N., & Strauss, W. 2000. Millennials Next Step. Rising: The Next Great Generation. New York: Vintage. Office for National Statistics. 2006, http://www. Junco, R., Mastrodicasa, J., & Upcraft, M. L. 2007. Connecting to the Net.Generation: What Rapleaf. 2008. Rapleaf Study Reveals Gender Higher Education Professionals Need to Know and Age Data of Social Network Users, http:// About Today’s Students. National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. press_2008_07_29.html Krayewski, K. 2009. Generation Y and Why Seidl, W. 2008. Meeting demands of They Matter. http://internationalaffairs. Generation Y should be HR’s target, Personnel Today, generation_y#ixzz0CrHzTUOl&B. articles/2008/04/03/45231/meeting-demands- of-generation-y-should-be-hrs-target.html Mann, S. 2008. Understanding Generation Y. Professional Manager, July 2008, http://www. Tapscott, D. 1999. Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation. New York (NY): Understanding%20Generation%20Y%20 McGraw-Hill. Jul08.pdf Terjesen, S., Vinnicombe, S., & Freeman, C. McCrindle, M., & Hooper, D. 2008. 2007. Attracting Generation Y graduates: Generation Y: Attracting, engaging and leading Organisational attributes, likelihood to apply a new generation at work, Drake International, and sex differences. Career Development International, 12(6): 504-522. NewGenerationsAtWork.pdf
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