KSU study: GenY workers want it all

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  Youngest generation of workers wants both pay and leisure, says management professor in…

Georgia (May 18, 2010) —  

Youngest generation of workers wants both pay and leisure, says management professor in new study
 
Much has been written and reported on the altruistic aspirations of GenY –– those born between 1982 and 1999. The notion that they value interesting, fulfilling jobs that provide them with an opportunity to “give back” has influenced how corporate America recruits and retains the younger generation of workers.
 
But according to a new study co-authored by Stacy Campbell, assistant professor of management at Kennesaw State University’s Coles College of Business, forthcoming in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Management, GenY (also known as GenMe or Millennials) is actually a bit more focused on both pay and leisure.
 
“Many times the media make it seem like GenY is the first generation to want a meaningful job, but according to our findings, that is not the case,” Campbell says in the study, titled “Generational Differences in Work Values: Leisure and Extrinsic Values Increasing, Social and Intrinsic Values Decreasing.” “Our study found that the most important thing to GenY workers is finding a job that pays well and gives them more free time to do what they want outside of work.”
 
Campbell, an expert in organizational management and human resources, has written extensively on leadership, employee attitudes and generational differences in the workplace. In this study, Campbell and her co-authors –– psychologists Jean Twenge of San Diego State University and Brian Hoffman and Charles Lance of the University of Georgia –– looked at the generational attitude differences toward five key work values: extrinsic rewards (compensation and status); intrinsic rewards (meaningful and interesting work); altruistic rewards (volunteerism and caring for social issues); leisure rewards (flexibility and time off); and social rewards (need to connect socially at work).
 
According to the comprehensive study –– the first to provide hard, empirical data to support how work values differ among GenMe, Generation X and Baby Boomers –– these surprising results have significant implications for companies as Baby Boomers continue to retire and the youngest generation of workers populates the work force.
 
What makes Campbell’s study unique is that the data were collected across time, allowing for the isolation of generational differences from age differences, unlike one-time studies. The study was done with a nationally representative random sample of 16,507 U.S. high school seniors in 1976, 1991 and 2006. The data were collected from a larger data collection effort, Monitoring the Future, which has surveyed a nationally representative sample of high school seniors every year since 1976.
 
“Up until now, the differences seen in the younger generation have been largely anecdotal, but now we have data to support the stories,” Campbell says. “We found that the younger generation places a much higher value on leisure time. Almost twice as many young people in 2006 rated having a job with more than two weeks of vacation as very important. But while Generation X valued money highly, they were willing to work hard for it. GenY has the high expectations of getting paid well and having more leisure time.” 
 
By Aixa M. Pascual, apascual@kennesaw.edu
 
 
 


 

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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