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January 14, 2014

New techniques in recruitment: how to attract the new employees of Generation Y

Generation Y relates approximately to those people who were born in the two decades between 1980 and the Millennium. It follows on from the previous generation known as the Baby Boomers who were born between World War 2 and the late 70s.

This means that all those involved in recruitment advertising are likely to spend more and more of their time addressing this demographic segment. It is important to realise that this generation has quite different characteristics from the Baby Boomers so recruiters who are now middle-aged need to take these differences on board and tailor their messages accordingly. Similarly, recruiters who belong to Generation Y probably need to recognise things about themselves and their peers that make many techniques and approaches they have learnt in the past increasingly redundant.

In order to communicate effectively with Gen Y, one has to know how to go about doing this both physically and emotionally. The first is the easy bit. We know that this generation has grown up with the Internet and has taken to all the new digital devices and to Social Media like a duck to water. Employers and recruitment advertising professionals know full well what it takes nowadays to get their messages across to target audiences and how to build employer brands.

The tricky bit is how to understand the aspirations and fears of Gen Y and how to empathise with them. The first thing to appreciate is that the Baby Boomers were, by and large, pleasantly surprised with life. Born into the era of post-war austerity, job security and owner-occupation seemed modest but quite acceptable aspirations. As things turned out, they enjoyed prosperity on an unprecedented and unexpected scale. The equity in their homes generated undreamt of wealth and the Thatcher Revolution turned the Sick Man of Europe into a country which seemed to have a future after all.

Contrast that with Generation Y which has always taken security and prosperity for granted and for whom the reality of life is inclined to fall short of expectations. Gen Y is not so much interested in a secure and stable career path but in a fulfilling career where following one’s passion is the order of the day. Career goals tend to be much more particular and ambitious with most Gen Y’ers aspiring to live their own personal dreams.

The majority tend to have unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance to accepting negative feedback leading to an inflated view of themselves. The problem for a generation that takes so much for granted and therefore has a strong sense of entitlement occurs when their expectations are unmet. This is when frustration can set in and probably explains why they tend to move jobs much more frequently than their parents. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren't in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.

Having said all this, Generation Y is still hugely ambitious and has a great sense of community. Employers looking to attract and retain the best staff therefore need to build their brands around personal development and community involvement. It would chime with Gen Y to emphasise that a company is always only going to be as good as the people who work for it and that there is no limit to how far both it and its employees can go. The progress of each member of staff can only be limited by the amount of effort and dedication the individual is prepared to devote to realising his or her ambitions. Generation Y isn’t interested in any kind of glass ceiling, real or imaginary.

For more expert information and advice about how 360 Degrees can help improve your recruitment advertising please click here.