EY Survey Explores Managing the Generational Mix

By Deanna C. White
 
A new survey released this September by Big Four professional services organization EY explores generational dynamics in the workplace and reveals a significant movement in Generations Y and X surging into management roles over the last five years.
 
EY's external online survey, which queried more than 1,200 US Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer professionals, explored generational shifts in management over time as well as the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each generation.
 
The survey, EY officials say, provides the perfect lens through which professional services firms  whether they're mega-practitioners like EY or independent "Main Street" offices   can prepare for the generational shift in their own organizations and harness their professionals' specific age-related strengths to make the most of the generational mix.
 
Perhaps the most significant finding of the EY generations survey, said Karyn Twaronite, the EY Americas Inclusiveness officer and a partner of Ernst & Young LLP, is the revelation that Gen Y, or Millennial, workers, those currently ages eighteen to thirty-two, are moving into management roles at a record rate.
 
From 2008 to 2013 alone, 87 percent of Gen Y managers surveyed took on a management role versus just 38 percent of Gen X workers (ages thirty-three to forty-eight) and only 19 percent of Baby Boomers (ages forty-nine to sixty-seven).
 
Those figures stand in stark contrast to numbers from the previous five years (2003 to 2008), when only 12 percent of Gen Y workers took on management roles, while 30 percent of Gen X workers and 23 percent of Baby Boomers moved into management.
 
"One of the most significant things the survey reveals is the fact that Gen Y managers are taking on management roles at a far greater pace than their predecessors," Twaronite said. 
 
And that dramatic shift in the generational landscape is about to become a critical issue for all organizations, as Gen Y professionals  who the survey indicates are viewed as social media savvy but soft on executive presence and somewhat "entitled" by their more seasoned peers  will rapidly overtake leadership. 
 
"Indications are these changing generational dynamics will impact about two-thirds of global organizations, both big and small, in the coming years, as well as the clients they serve," Twaronite said. "Everyone will be affected by these changing generational dynamics in the workplace."
 
Fortunately, EY officials say, the survey provides ample context for managing the multigenerational mix, analyzing the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each generation and engaging and motivating all employees in the increasingly age-diverse workplace.

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