Sometime in 2015, the young adults of the generation born between 1980 and 2000—the Millennials, or Generation Y—will displace Baby Boomers as the largest group in the workplace. Although some critics have labeled them as slackers with a sense of entitlement, that characterization is unfair. Gen Ys are undoubtedly different from both Gen Xers (born 1965-1980) and Boomers (born 1946-1965), but they can be valuable employees who have a natural affinity for technology and other skills required for a global marketplace.
“Gen Y is the best-educated generation in history. They are very global minded, very productive and efficient workers. They learn quickly, mastering tasks faster than any other generation. They’re very well-connected and networked via technology to other people. They’re marketing savvy, tech savvy—they just bring a whole new perspective to the world and how it works,” said Sarah Sladek, CEO of XYZ University, a generational consulting firm.
“They have a 21st century vision in their DNA,” said Amy Lynch, author and consultant at Generational Edge. “They bring lots of different things to the table and make connections that [other generations]are not going to see. It is because of the way their brains work, because they grew up online thinking in networks and not in a straight line.”
Companies in the supply chain will require Gen Y’s unique talents to successfully compete in the coming decades. But before they can fully tap into the Gen Ys’ potential, they need to understand what makes them different.
By Mary Lou Jay