Are Young Techies Spoiled Brats?

Who has pickier job expectations, young people entering the tech field, or the employers who hire them? A new report released today says tech executives think millennials -- people between the ages of 18 and 31 -- are too fussy about pay and perks, and are the most difficult to manage.



Who has pickier job expectations, young people entering the tech field, or the employers who hire them? A new report released today says tech executives think millennials -- people between the ages of 18 and 31 -- are too fussy about pay and perks, and are the most difficult to manage.The report by Atlantic Associates, an IT staffing firm, is based on a recent survey of 100 Massachusetts tech executives, including CIOs and IT managers. Those executives work for companies based in the Bay State, as well as national companies that have a significant presence in New England.

When asked about "which generation is most difficult to manage," 53% of the executives named millennials, or those between the ages of 18 and 31 who are also frequently lumped together as "Generation Y."

(In case you're wondering, apparently the older you get, the easier you are to manage, at least in the eyes of tech executives. The second most difficult age group to manage was Generation X, or those folks between the ages of 32 and 42, named by 17% of the respondents. Baby boomers, ages 43 to 61, were considered easiest to manage, named "most difficult" by only 14% of the executive. Sixteen percent of the respondents weren't sure.)

Although the survey's questions didn't dive into why the executives think millennials are so hard to manage, the executives apparently offered up their own anecdotes to the staffing firm, AAI.

Among the complaints are that this younger generation apparently was "too coddled" by their parents, and are overly sensitive to criticism. Those kids grew up being told they're all "winners" and "the best" in everything, says AAI co-founder and principal Jack Harrington.

Sure, many of us also have heard stories about so-called "helicopter parents," including moms and dads who ask to accompany their young adult kids to job interviews or send e-mails to prospective employers. I tend to think those parents are an oddity, but they do exist.

Among the other big complaints from executives about younger techies is that it takes "a lot to keep them happy," says Harrington. The younger generation "doesn't want to start out at the bottom," and often has unrealistic expectations about the pay and perks they should be getting from the get-go, as well as the type of "workspace" they get.

On a more positive note (to society, but maybe not to the employers), the younger crowd also tends to be "more philanthropic;" they want jobs that have them feeling as though they're contributing something good to the world, says Harrington.

Maybe those expectations have been fueled somewhat by over-protective parents. But is it also possible that those younger people -- who were just kids during the high-rolling, high-paying dot-com boom -- don't realize that bubble popped a long time ago?

Or perhaps this is a new generation of "rebels" set on pressuring "fair compensation" from cheapskate employers who are otherwise tempted to offshore low-limb work.

Whatever is at the root of all this -- and it's probably many factors -- employers do need to wake up and address these generational differences. After all, employers also are the ones complaining about the shortage of young people entering the tech field.

Maybe it's time for employers to become more introspective about why young people are turned off by the tech field and yet seem "so difficult."

What do you think?

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