06 Aug 2009
Generation Y has a lot to offer the world - but what will it offer them?
Both government and businesses have a tremendous opportunity to tap eager Gen Y talent to make themselves more responsive, collaborative and efficient. What are the areas Gen Y can be involved in and how?
Share with us your thoughts & concerns on "Upping the Ante of Gen Y Talent in Nation Building". The best entry will win stage time with ICPAS Advisor, Mr Teo Ser Luck at the ICPAS Annual Dinner & Dialogue 2009.
Download ICPAS Dinner & Dialogue 2009 E-flyer.
From: Tang Soek Yee
I am born in the 60s as well. Any prominent differences between those
in the 60s and 80s? Yes, my personal perception is that those Gen-Y
ers have no patience for "success" and "fast money".
New wave ?
To engage my Gen-Y colleagues to work more effectively, I need to
constantly hint to them on the benefit of doing it, unlike those in
my generation who will "Just Do It" .
To achieve synergy between the different generations, we need to have
an open-mind and open-heart, else we can't catch up with the new wave :)
From: Jason Lee
Born in 60s (Baby boomers), I don't see much differences in any year
of birth. Things evolve and we just have to adjust to adapt to the
changes, make changes to advance to the next level, or remain unchanged
and be happy with where you are and accept all consequences. The choice
Whether to work hard (trademark for babyboomers?) or to work smart
(trademark for gen-Y?), the objective remains the same, i.e. ability
to deliver efficiently and effectively.
Efficient and effective communication is the key to bridge the
"generation gaps". We all know it is not possible to please everyone,
one just needs to put yourself in the shoes of the others before any action.
Born in 1979, I see myself interchangeably between Gen X and Gen
Y; and in the 7 years of my working life, I’ve had the opportunity
to observe all 3 generations at work. Personally, I feel the mindset
of each generation has become too stereotyped. Most of the older
generations have already embraced technology (like the Gen-Y) in
their way of life and work. Similarly, most of the younger generations
are willing to put in punishing hours at work (like the Gen X) too.
However, experience and respect must be earned - there are no two ways
about it. But, can Gen Y-ers create value and enjoyment/fulfillment at
the same time? I definitely think so! As the Chinese saying goes “万丈高楼平地起”,
Gen Y-ers need to learn from the experienced to gain a solid foundation.
In the meanwhile, they can add value with their new thoughts and innovation.
We will then have the best of both worlds.
My current company enjoys having all 3 generations under the same roof.
Babyboomers provide the advice, Gen X-ers provide the engine and drive and
Gen Y-ers provide the futuristic view. Since the company makes employees
part-owners (by providing shares as remuneration and incentives), everyone’s
interest and direction is aligned.
Gen Y-ers challenged the existing processes with new ideas. Some of them
worked - costs are saved and products and services are enhanced; while some
impractical ideas are shot down. Communication has never been so important before.
(Office concept is open after the walls are physically removed) This is essential
for all generations to come together. We are building a culture and environment
which is enjoyed by all; and I believe this should be the way forward. No one should
be too old; and no one should be too young.
I'm Gen Y. Instead of complaining that they are misunderstood, Gen Y-ers
should do all they can to gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed
at the workplace. With more knowledge, Gen Y-ers will be able to see a clearer
picture. The skills that you learn will stay with you even after you venture
off to a greener pasture.
From: Teresa Twining
Generation Y should not expect "chance" to be given to them.
They need to make opportunities happen. As a Generation X who
has been in the workforce in Singapore and overseas for over
20 years, we were in the same situation before that we were
not experience then. Experience cannot be trained and cannot
happen overnight. It is perserverance and resourcefulness.
We make our own opportunity and carve our own destiny through
working hard and smart.
Gen Y likes to be different. We like to speak our minds and we like to do
things in our own unique way which many 'old schools' cannot accept. I
think the best ideal situation is to let us be our own boss. Richard is right,
since we cannot earn the salary we want, the kind of work we want, the best
option is to work for ourselves. I think Gen Y can start up the 'entrepreneur
fever' A lot of us, not just the Gen Y wants to start our own business, if
the government can help provide 'entrepreneurship grants' for small start ups,
it will even help boost the economy! We will not have to worry about being retrench,
cannot find a regular job as most of my peers are still in contract and temp position
cos the HR just refuse to accept non-experience staff. Frankly, how can we get
experience when we are not given a chance? Isn't this ironic? The government can help
implement grants to promote entrepreneurship for youth from 21-35yrs of age. Currently
the plans listed by SPRINGS are not very friendly cos we need to raise our own funds
and SPRINGS will do the matching. Frankly speaking, if we are capable to raise our own
funds then why do we need SPRINGS start up loan assistance?
I am Gen X, with over 20 years experience and more than 10 jobs after
graduation. Gen Y preoccupation with new stuff on the job is nothing new.
My lecturers predicted that we wld change jobs often, till we got to manage
our own team in an organisation of our own liking. Even though I did more
than just what was specified to be my job, eg I read thru entire tax files
as an auditor, volunteered to do cost analyses not part of my job area,
staying more than 2 years in the same job was not easy. I changed jobs
to learn to do budgets, IT (Y2K, Accpac, SAP, Hyperion), L/C, financing,
etc. Now I am in a "slow" job to get home on time to help my kid with homework,
as Gen Y mums will one day try, too. Even going overseas to get opportunities
and earn more has been going on all the time - before China opened fully, Gen X
went over with full expat benefits! Most of us would return, as our roots are
here and Singapore cannot be replicated in another part of the world. We come
from a unique place, and we need to be here for our kids. Even foreigners are
here to attend our schools, which have done a great job! I think the govt shd
take a longer term view of things. All this fuss over Gen Y only happens because
the birth rate is now lower, so we pay more attention to the kids, compared to when
families had 5 or more kids. At heart, I think even Gen Y realise that if they give
up their citizenships here, they will never get it back, and they will be replaced by well-qualified immigrants.
From: Richard Tay
Time for Gen Y to come back to earth. Now is the time for the rubber
to meet the road and get scorched.
The potential, the brilliance is there, but what is new? Does this not
happen with each new generation?
All that brilliance is nothing if not accompanied by wisdom and some character.
And you can't get wisdom or character with just few years of experience sailing
through nice weather, easy promotions and so-called working smart. Who wants to
employ you if you keep thinking you know everything?
If you can't wait for that promotion, go be an entrepreneur and create your own future
From: Jerold Siew
I think the Gen Y's are facing a difficult time at this moment. With one
of the worst economic crisis in world history, soaring unemployment rates,
massive retrenchments carried out by firms globally, etc... we would need
to work harder to prove ourselves worthy.
Jobs are generally difficult to find now, as it is an employers' market.
Those who graduated between end 2007 to 2009 would agree with me that finding
a job is like finding a needle in the haystack. You hear bad news everyday on
the newspapers. There's too much uncertainty during this period and I feel it's
affecting the fresh graduates the most.
Let's hope this difficult period would pass by quicker and pray for better
I feel that there is a need to involve Gen Y in more community services. Gen Y
are not afraid to convey our message across and we are able to fight for rights.
The Gen Ys need to be heard and we like to express our views not so much on the
face-to-face level but through blogs and interactive media.
Frankly speaking, most of my peers and their siblings (Gen Z) are more concern
with living "my life" but seriously don't care about what's going on in the world around them.
I think there is a need for more Gen Y's involvement in community work.
I am born between Gen x and y. I have been working for more than 10 yrs and I
have a broader perspective of how the gen x and y works. I feel that Gen Y are
more outspoken and bold in their approach. You can say they are "gung ho". They
are quirky, innovative and high tech however, they need to understand that the
business environment they are in and they need to respect that. They also have to
respect their bosses, management and the business culture after all, the bosses
have also gone through these mundane work when they first started out. I feel that
some Gen Y are a little individualistic and they need to learn to humble themselves
to learn the ropes if they want to achieve success.
I think Gen Y’s are generally tech-savvy, confident, and fancy an unconventional
approach. At times, non-Gen Y colleagues and bosses may have misconceptions about
Gen Y than Gen Y themselves. However, one can never under estimated the ‘imapct’
when Gen X and Y join their forces in specific tasks! For a start, organization can
involve or task Gen Ys with more pioneering & brainstorming activities even though they
are less experienced.
From: Darrell Tan
I am 28 years old, CPA and ACCA with 5 years of working experience.
To share my previous experience looking for jobs. Even if I meet all criteria,
when I went for interviews, I am told I am too young and the accounting team is
much older than me and interviewer thinks I will have difficulty managing them.
"You need more experience" is another common statement that irks people. In the
working world, sometimes people are shallow to recognise that doing the same thing
day-in-day-out for 5 years = 5 years experience. To a GEN Y, that simply means 5 X 1yr
experience, which does not extend one's horizon and breadth of knowledge. And someone
of such experience has accepted to be stagnant for 5 years. Think about it.
In terms of work, GEN Y needs breadth, not depth. We learn fast and get bored very
easily because we know there is so much to learn in the world. Speedily, we can deepen
our knowledge on one subject. Just google, visit the forums, read articles online and you
will be a subject expert in a few days. Technology is embraced wholeheartedly by GEN Ys.
We even take traditional activities like reading to a higher efficiency by doing speed reading.
Does the government and business sector recognise this? Do they know that our demographic
model is such that aged workers will form the majority in the workforce? And if so, are GEN Ys
supposed to slow down and work in tandem with older workers (those older than GEN X)?
GEN X can make good use of GEN Ys' computer skills and resourcefulness but what can the organisations offer to us?
Fancy titles are a bonus but opportunity to contribute thoughts and perspectives will be appreciated
since GEN Ys are very expressive and will love to be heard. That explains why so many are blogging.
Do you expect us to stay for 5 years doing the same thing, so as to get a promotion? Tell us that
we should be happy to have a job and you might hear a yawn. No, we will not waste our time to wait
for a promotion, we will leave and promote ourselves even if it requires us to uproot. That spells
trouble as it may result in a brain-drained Singapore.
I hope the government and business sectors recognise all the above and more could be done to address these.
We are the future of Singapore, only if Singapore attitudes change to embrace our presence.
From: David Teo
I am 27 years old this year and would like to give my two cents on being a Gen Y in the corporate world.
Most companies I’d worked in fail to understand one thing; that we have different desires,
goals and attitudes as compared to the Gen X group of workers. Very so often, I would be
assigned to accomplish tasks which are either monotonous, non-stimulating to my brain cells
or just plain dull. I can’t help but to ponder why would any company hire a degree holder and above,
and assign them to man tasks which does not require employees with such an educational level? To me,
the ultimate misery is to be in a boring job. I urge all employers and immediate supervisors to take
this into consideration when allocating tasks to their staffs.
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