Arrive Magazine, Sept-Oct 2010
They're young, they're hungry and they're coming to a workplace near you.
After graduation, Fan Bi was thrilled to get his first job at one of the major accounting firms. But a year later, he was gone. The 22-year-old is now CEO of his own company, Blank Label, an online custom designer shirt company.
“I wasn’t used to being a really small worker bee in a tiny cubicle,” says Bi. “I am definitely a product of my generation.”
That would be Generation Y, the youngest—and fastest-growing—group in the workplace. Some experts estimate that Bi and his cohorts will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. Nothing about this group is simple, not even who they are. Because the U.S. Census Bureau ends Gen X with the birth year 1977, some consider 1978 to be the first year of Gen Y, and include those born in 1990; others set the parameters between 1980–82 and 1992–93.
Whatever the boundaries, Gen Yers share certain characteristics. Coming of age in the “decade of the child” and raised by “helicopter parents” to believe in themselves and their abilities, they are educated, confident, tech-savvy and consummate multitaskers and have high expectations of themselves and others. They want instant gratification and flexible schedules and they expect their jobs to fit into their lives, not the other way around.