Thursday, July 30, 2015

Myths Regarding Young Engineers

From the current issue of the Schumpeter column in the Economist:

"Jennifer Deal of the Centre for Creative Leadership, an executive-training outfit, and Alec Levenson of the University of Southern California studied 25,000 people in 22 countries and concluded that most generalisations about millennials as employees are “inconsistent at best and destructive at worst.” Consider the idea that they do not want to be told what to do. In a poll of 5,000 workers Ms Deal and Mr Levenson found that 41% of millennials agreed that “employees should do what their manager tells them, even when they can’t see the reason for it,” compared with 30% of baby-boomers and 30% of members of generation X (born between the mid-1960s and 1980). Or the idea that firms should communicate with digital natives through digital media. More than 90% of millennials said they wanted to receive their performance evaluations and to discuss their career plans face-to-face.
It would be going too far to say that there are no differences between the generations. There are variations in consumption patterns. Young people are much more likely to get their news from BuzzFeed than baby-boomers are. But these do not necessarily translate into different attitudes to work. Ms Deal notes that millennials who have been in a job for a couple of years have much more conventional attitudes to work than those of the same age who are still at university. Some differences in attitudes cross the generations. In CEB’s recent poll, 51% of millennials said they would look for a job at another organisation within the coming year compared with 37% of generation X-ers and 18% of baby-boomers. It also discovered that millennials are more likely to seek and value feedback from their managers than members of other generations are. But this is because they are still young, and not because of the particular generation they were born into. Young people in every generation change jobs more frequently than older people because they are looking for the right one. Young people also look for feedback because they are still learning the ropes."

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