MBA Research

Trend #9: Unrealistic and Non-sustainable Expectations

Business Trend

In our ongoing conversations with the business community, we asked them to identify business trends impacting the workplace. One of the most frequently identified trends: unrealistic and non-sustainable expectations – pay, benefits, and advancements.

Workplace Implications

In the panel members’ opinion, Gen Y exerts less work effort while expecting more rewards than older generations. They want more time off from work than allotted to their positions. They expect instant gratification. The panels indicated that this generation expects to be rewarded for basically doing their jobs, and they felt that this was probably due to being rewarded for everything while growing up—even for coming in in last place. Gen Y needs to know “what's in it for me.” This attitude is evident in the workplace as well as in community-service activities tied to work. Gen Y expects to have significant responsibility without having significant experience. Speed of advancement and their competitive pace are inconsistent with needs.

This trend challenges supervisors, managers, and HR. They need to be sensitive to recognizing Gen Y’s accomplishments—without going overboard. When selecting community-service projects, they need to determine what activities Gen Y is interested in—not just make a top-down decision on the matter. They also need to communicate career paths so that Gen Y understands their options for skill development and advancement. More frequent, less formal performance reviews and greater transparency within the compensation adjustment process also aid in engaging Gen Y. 

Classroom Implications

According to research and panel input, people in this age group need to be better grounded in realistic work expectations in terms of salaries, job responsibilities, and employer expectations. They need to understand career progression and that a degree does not entitle them to a job or company leadership. They should explore the importance of experience when handling different situations. Teachers should encourage job shadowing and other methods of getting students into workplaces. Teachers should also involve the business community in classroom projects on a regular basis so that employers can talk about their expectations.