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Challenge vs security: attract and motivate Gen Y

Posted by Rowan O'Grady, Hays Canada President, on Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blog May 28 graphic - Gen y career planningWhat do young workers value? When you know what is important to an individual or a group, you know how to attract, motivate, and retain them, but each new generation offers new challenges to employers. A recent Globe and Mail article reports that students and new graduates are more interested in finding new challenges than in career stability.

This trend matches what we are hearing from candidates, so what changes can you make to keep Gen Y workers engaged?

The Hays 2015 Payroll Salary Guide finds that 35 per cent of junior employees say seniority level does not matter. However, they also said that the #1 reason for leaving a company is for career progression. These candidates and employees see career progression as separate from seniority and job title.

Generation Y often see career growth as a lattice, not a ladder. They want continued development and new challenges, but this may not align with traditional views of promotion and seniority.

A one-size-fits-all approach may drive away employees, especially the creative thinkers you most need for an agile and successful company. These are your future leaders. Understanding their needs and ambitions will help you create a sustainable talent strategy to retain these employees who are not always known for their loyalty.

Be open to suggestions about career development, training and progression. Many companies have found success offering secondments, job rotations, and opportunities for growth that do not include traditional people management. For example, Hays offers three potential career tracks – one that includes people management and two that offer career progression without managing a team – with employees able to change their mind for up to two years if they decide people management is not for them. 

See the Hays DNA series for more on developing leaders and building strong teams.

Get industry specific hiring market insights in the 2015 Salary Guide


Talk to Rowan O'Grady, Hays Canada President, on the Canadian labour market.

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