Gen-Ys are getting nervous

It’s actually ‘dog eat dog’, but in this case ‘Y eat Y’ seems more fitting, as their good times are about to end. MICHAEL PHILLIPS

Michael Phillips

By Michael Phillips

It appears that the tide is turning in favour of employers rather than the employees. Unemployment is about to reverse the trend of the last eight years and start to increase. This is going to mean competition among employees and a bonus for the employers who have struggled to find staff.

Now, we discussed this earlier in the year, but it seems that the markets and the recruitment firms are now backing this up. Recruitment firm Talent2 has recently released results of a survey that show Gen-Ys are nervous.

Nervous about the apparent “insecurity” of employment which they have yet to experience. The times have been quite good to Gen-Ys, but now it is time to batten down the hatches and jostle for position!

Meanwhile, the foxy old Gen-Xers and baby boomers are sitting back in their computer chairs rubbing their hands with glee as the young upstarts finally feel some pain. Right?

Well, no actually. You see, no one is a winner in this case. In the event of a sustained increase in unemployment, we’re all going to feel it. Gen-Y, Gen-X, baby boomers and any pre-baby boomers (what are they called?) that may still be out there working away. We will all be vying for less positions, so the game becomes more about performance than it does about filling the gaps.

So, what does this mean for the Gen-Ys that are yet to experience such a downturn? Put simply, it just means you need to work hard.

But as a survival tip, here are the five things you can do to ensure your long term success:

  • Head down, bum up – this is the time to knuckle down and contribute. Forget the demands for more Friday night drinks and staff discounts – just do your job to the best of your ability.
  • Teamwork – team players are vital, particularly in times when morale may be down, so keep up your spirit and think of the “team”, not yourself.
  • Communication – stay close to what is happening in your business, areas of opportunity and areas for improvement. If needs be, put your hand up for the difficult tasks. People want to see employees “roll up the sleeves” not run and hide.
  • Lead – not in a style reminiscent of Mussolini, just lead by example.
  • Exceed expectations – deliver what you say you will and even a bit more. If that means you have to put in extra, then do it.

But seriously, all the above should not be a surprise. In fact, you should be doing these things now.

If you commit to all the above, there is no business out there that could afford to loose you, whether economic conditions are good or bad. As always, in times of uncertainty, go back to basics and focus on your “core” strengths.


Michael Phillips is a 30-year old CPA managing a business full of Gen-Ys. He’s the Commercial Manager of Cremorne Group which wholesales and retail mens and womens apparel, including the Tommy Hilfiger, Blazer and Perri Cutten brands. He offers his experience as a pioneering Gen-Y managing Gen-Ys, covering issues such as how to recruit, retain and get the most out of Gen-Y – the notoriously difficult younger generation of employees aged 15 to 30.



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