Historically, employers have always had to cater to different age groups. However, as Generation Y members are now in their 30s and have started to take up a greater percentage of the workforce, things are becoming even trickier - with this forward-looking age group proving to be the most difficult group of employees yet.
According to The Hudson Report on Q4 Employment and HR Trends, 59 per cent of respondents across all sectors stated that Gen Y employees present specific management challenges, with a lack of loyalty and unrealistic job expectations being some of the aspects that make them hard to manage.
Commenting on their apparent lack of loyalty and unrealistic job expectations, Mark Carriban, Hudson managing director for Asia, says that Gen Y is seen as a volatile group of workers.
"One of the main factors driving the perception of disloyalty from our respondents is that Gen Y employees tend to move jobs too easily and do not seem to be looking for long-term careers. In comparison to previous generations, Gen Y also needs a lot of attention, and employees show little respect for authority," he says.
"Gen Y is a generation that is in a hurry and won't stick around for long. They are a highly aspirational generation and have many expectations of what the workplace should be. This is then perceived as a lack of loyalty, but it is actually that the company hasn't managed to engage their workers and create the infrastructure and environment to contain their interests for long," he adds.
To combat these generational challenges, Carriban says that employers should try to live within the world of their workforce. "Gen Y employees are prepared to work hard, but within the right context. Workplace culture is incredibly important, as are employee relationships," he says.
"Building variety within the job is a massive factor for this generation and they desire cross-functional job progression as it is interesting to them," he adds.
This situation is even more complicated in Asia, where Gen Y staffers can easily shift jobs. This can worsen staff attrition and is a huge human resources challenge, with companies finding it difficult to deliver quality and consistent service to clients.
"Employers are trying to wrestle with retention challenges in a buoyant market with a generation that appears to have slightly different drivers which exacerbate those turnover challenges," Carriban says. "The real challenge will come when people start thinking about the management of Gen Z."