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Leaders Forum preview: Gen Y’s are lazy (or are they?)


Event Planet Director Amy Merriman chats to Spice about the work ethic of the under-35s. 


Event Planet Director Amy Merriman

They are often called unproductive, undisciplined, overly opportunistic and victims of ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ mentality. They are regularly accused of having inflated egos and tickets on themselves. That’s if you’ve been paying attention to Australia’s executives and management media who make sweeping generalisations for a whole generation, regardless of whether they have had experience working with them or not.

As a member of Generation X, I would like to take the lid off this subject and the uncomplimentary labels Generation Y have been branded with. Over the past decades, many young workers have an ethos of keep their options open. I believe this is not from choice, but out of necessity. They have watched their parents and older friends change careers throughout their working life, so to them it is the norm. The global employment market has evolved to become more transient and transparent than ever before. People cross borders and transfer companies with ease. The internet has enabled this and has changed the workplace forever. There is little to no case for staying in one job at one company for an entire lifetime unless you are a successful entrepreneur who starts early.  

It’s true that some Gen Ys come with a tag of entitlement and the ‘you’re lucky to have me in your workplace’ attitude. Historically, the gratitude dynamic was the other way round. Some also expect big salaries with allowances and bonuses for little or no experience. Isn’t that most generations? Don’t we all want financial security and a comfortable life? Maybe Gen Ys are more comfortable about asking for it. More often than not, the roles they see advertised don’t promise longevity or a 30 year career plan.

Personally, I have a different opinion to the mainstream on Gen Y. The majority of my team at Event Planet are in their mid-20s and are great working examples of Gen Ys. Their output is the backbone of our business. As the company name suggests, we produce events for a broad portfolio of clients and it involves intellectually and physically demanding responsibilities. Our Gen Ys carry out their tasks with passion, sincerity and respect. They are well-mannered, professional and respectful to management, their peers and our clients. Are they recalcitrant? Absolutely not! Are they a joy to be around? Indeed. And, they may have actually taught us Gen Xers a thing or two about going out and grabbing all that life has to offer with both hands.

To read more about what to expect in the events industry in 2014, check out the February issue of Spice Magazine. Subscribe here. 

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