Michael Phillips

Gen-Y can’t really be blamed for being more money-focused than others – what else have we known? And is that about to change?

The third deadly sin

Michael Phillips

Make sure you are sitting down, as what you are about to read will blow your mind. A study by recruitment firm Seek has found that Generation-Y employees are the most money hungry of all generations!

Well woopee-do; in a time of historically low unemployment (4%, which is in reality more like 1%), low interest rates, record house prices and record profit growth for business, we are meant to be amazed by this finding? Sorry research team, but I’m not sure this will surprise a single soul. I haven’t checked under many rocks recently, but most people should be aware of this fact.

The study went on to say that of the Gen-Y employees surveyed, 30% (is that all?) said money was the main source of motivation, while Gen-X was 15% and baby boomers 9%.

Rather than focusing on the greed and selfishness of these shocking Gen-Y employees let’s take a look at the history of these money-grabbing PIAs and the environment they are in.

Every other generation has faced significant hardship through their lives, whether it be war, depression, recession, 17% interest rates or 12% unemployment, while Gen-Y have not faced any of these things. 

I should know. I was born in 1978 and I have to tell you, life seems to have been pretty easy so far. I mean, my father and grandfather still talk about the wars they were in and are amazed by how “the young” can spend so freely, while my biggest concern is how quickly I can retire.

Let’s face it Gen-Yers, we’ve had no significant economical pain or disaster in our lives to date. We had a small blip in the early 90s, but that one “we had to have”. Other than that we have ridden along on the coat tails of a raging bull. We have also grown up in a time where “wants” are marketed as “needs”, and we better get a hold of as much as we can or we won’t be happy.

So, while I’m sure you won’t be surprised by the findings of this report, we must take everything with our tongue planted firmly in our greedy cheeks. You can’t blame a generation for wanting money when that is all we know and have known.

There are also two sobering thoughts for those Gen-X and baby boomers wondering “when will it end?”. First, this survey was done by a recruitment company; you know, the ones that “sell jobs and get remunerated accordingly”. And second, a recession is just around the corner… I think.


Michael Phillips is a 29-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.


For more Manageing Gen-Y blogs, click here.



Karen Dempster of Creating Change writes: I find no concerns at all in the findings that Gen Y want money. It shows emerging realism and maturity, acknowledging that in order to pursue aims one must have capital. This generation is smart, open to knowledge and fast in it’s uptake, however they also seek fast application. Lack of $ will only cause frustration, just like it does with us all! The entrepreneurial generation are merely expressing what we older entrepreneurs always say: We need more cash-flow to progress this idea!

Joyie asks: Hi Michael, I want to find an organisation with inspiring people to work with. Any industry as I think the industry I’m in is a bit hopeless! Thanks



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: support@smartcompany.com.au or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.