Gen Y managers perceived as entitled, unpolished
Kelley Holland
Special to CNBC
September 7, 2013

 Gen Y workers now make up about a third of workforce, study finds
 68% perceived as 'entitled and concerned primarily about individual
promotion,' a survey finds
 Gen X managers were perceived as the strongest by 70% of respondents

Like your new, young, manager?

If you said no, you've got lots of company.

Generation Y managers are widely perceived as entitled, and score significantly
lower as hard-working team players in newly released research from EY, the
global firm that includes Ernst & Young LLP.

That's especially striking since members of Gen Y, or the millennial generation,
which EY defines as people aged 18 to 32, are moving into management at a
rapid pace. Some 87% of Gen Y managers in the EY survey took on a new
management role between 2008 and 2013, compared with 38% of Gen X
managers and just 19% of those aging baby boomer managers.

Gen Y workers, including managers, now make up about a third of the U.S.
workforce, according to Karyn Twaronite, EY's Americas inclusiveness officer.
And at EY itself, which hires thousands of young recruits every year, Twaronite
says the workforce is almost two-thirds Gen Y.

So if 68% of that age cohort is perceived as "entitled and concerned primarily
about individual promotion," as the EY survey found, that's an issue.

Entitled workers, those who feel they are owed things from their organization
and that their excellence is a given, are less likely to lead teams effectively and
advocate for subordinates.

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ME ME ME: The Gen Y theme?

VIDEO: Millennials' job-hopping effect

A 2010 study by Paul Harvey, then an assistant professor of management at
the University of New Hampshire, found that entitled employees are more likely
to feel frustrated on the job and to lash out at colleagues.

"The frustration experienced by entitled workers appears to stem from
perceived inequities in the rewards received by co-workers to whom
psychologically entitled employees feel superior," Harvey said.

Part of Gen Y's management problem may just be inexperience. The next older
cohort, Gen X, ages 33 to 48, were perceived as the strongest managers by
70% of survey respondents, Twaronite said.

"That's even more than boomers," Twaronite said. "Only 5% said Gen Y was
prepared to lead."

But if managers think this is something that will simply fix itself, they are
mistaken, she said.

"I would caution companies from thinking this is generational gibberish,"
Twaronite said. "There is a real shift."

She thinks companies need to be helping their Gen Y managers develop more
positive management qualities.

In other findings, Gen Y members overall placed high value on workplace
flexibility. And while women of all ages valued flexibility more than men, 40% of
Gen X men and 36% of Gen Y men said they would walk away from a job that
didn't offer adequate flexibility.

Fewer than half of Gen Y members expect to be working standard office hours
five to 10 years from now.

The good news is that Gen Y members are perceived as tech savvy, and smart
about ways to leverage social media. They are also seen as inclusive leaders
who display what EY calls "'diversity" skills, or the ability to build culturally
competent teams."

And they come across as enthusiastic and adaptable, qualities that may help
them shift gears so that in a future survey, fewer than the current 36% of
respondents may say they are hard to work with.

Gen Y members are also quite ambitious. Twaronite points out that they view
promotions as a perk more highly than their older counterparts—and Gen Y
women value them more than Gen Y men.

"It really demonstrates that the next generation of women leaders are really
serious about their careers," she said.

Looking further ahead, there may be even more good news. "I have read in the
research that the generation coming up behind Gen Y will tend to be much
more conservative," Twaronite said. They appear to be less likely to change
jobs as often, for example.

If they can get that entitlement thing under control, that will really be something
to anticipate.
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