Photo: Marcos Castillo/Shutterstock

Gen-Y Entitlement and the Future of the Workforce

by Candice Walsh Jun 1, 2010
A new study by the University of New Hampshire’s professor Paul Harvey shows that Gen-Y employees are the worst in history, with the greatest sense of entitlement among all generations.

We’re a greedy bunch, apparently. In Harvey’s study measuring psychological entitlement and narcissism, he found that that Gen-Y respondents scored 25% higher than respondents age 40 to 60, and 50% higher than those over 61.

The entire study whittles down to a depressing fact: Gen-Y workers want more leisure, less strenuous work, and higher pay, and they’re not willing to go the extra mile for it. Ouch.

Apparently the whole reason for this behavior is the fact we’ve grown up with people shoving the message down our throats that we’re special, and we deserve the very best, always.

Perhaps a more alarming trend, however, is shown by a study carried out by several other universities: there is a huge shift in the attitude toward working with younger employees, and it’s not good.

The entire study whittles down to a depressing fact: Gen-Y workers want more leisure, less strenuous work, and higher pay, and they’re not willing to go the extra mile for it. Ouch.

Take the title of this essay on the same topic, for example: “You’ve heard the whining, now studies back it up.”

Personally, I’m offended.

Could it be that new graduates, fresh out of university, having devoted four or more years to studying their craft, pouring thousands and thousands of dollars into their education, are merely expecting what the universe has promised to them? Lucrative careers, even for those pursuing careers that aren’t high in demand?

We expect big things, with our higher education and the constant push for us to attend post secondary. Because generations and generations before us have sold us these ideals.We see 20-something billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and we dream big, too.

Or what if the Gen-Y is complaining about their employers because their employers are actually treating them unfairly? I’ve heard more than one story about bosses loading new grads with responsibilities completely unrelated to their profession, like fetching lunch or being the office bitch. I’m not sure when it became a bad thing to not put up with being disrespected.

As is evident across Matador Network and other travel sites, we’re also imbued with the knowledge that we only have one life to live, and we want to live it well. We are well aware of this single truth and our desire to ditch the cubicle. In fact, we’re encouraged to do so. I see absolutely no problem with this; so what if we want to be happy?

Never mind the study doesn’t seem to highlight any Gen-Y employees who actually are eager to work and are fantastic at their jobs. The kind of 20-something folks who show up on time everyday at the office, are open to constructive criticism, work long hours and give it their best shot…even if they don’t necessarily enjoy their work.

The future of the workforce is bleak? I don’t think so. The workforce is a constantly changing entity. Employers will have to deal with it, and they will have to find new ways to cope. Rather than resist, employers need to embrace the unique qualities of Gen-Y: we’re tech savvy, we can multitask at breakneck speeds, and we’re aware of the world.

Treat us young workers with the respect we deserve, and we’ll return it. If you find yourself with a whiny, unmotivated ass, fire him or her and lesson learned. There’s more than enough of us willing and deserving to fill big shoes.

Community Connection

Do you think Gen-Y are a bunch of spoiled brats, or does the workforce need a facelift? Share your thoughts.

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.