3rd December 2013

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by: Jo Dodds

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Tags: Research

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Categories: Research

The Reflexive Generation: Young Professionals’ Perspectives on Work, Career and Gender

A report by London Business School looks into the working perspective of the next generation. There is currently an assumption that young professionals from Generation Y are very different from any previous generation. Organisations realise that they do not yet understand the needs and perspectives of this generation and have started to explore how this generation can be managed.

The report looked at the 50:30:10 gender divide, female’s drop down to 30% in middle management and 10% in senior management was found in their study and they also highlight why having a 50% split makes business sense in regards to innovation. It is however claimed that generation Y females are ambitious and confident as men.

The report touches upon the generation Y hearsay such as them being independent, dynamic and selfish, although these are assumptions based on stereotypes, the rigorous academic research is missing.

This generation who have grown up with technology are the most tech savvy ever, it is claimed rather than waiting patiently for a promotion, this generation is said to want immediate gratification and feedback just like they receive in online interactions.

London business school have called this generation the Reflexive Generation, because this generation is constantly reflecting back on the relationship between self, work and life. In a time when old structures like jobs for life are withering away, the individual is increasingly in charge of shaping his or her own career and life (Beck, 2000). This unique time presents younger generations with the opportunity but also the challenge of choosing the right life path.

This report states this generation are in a feedback loop where their past influences their present and future experience. This feedback loop allows them to re-invent themselves to author their own life stories as job for life is no longer the norm.

The report focuses on three interrelated aspects of this Generation Y feedback loop. First, work is characterised by self-management and the need for instant gratification and feedback. Second, careers should be challenging for this generation, and young professionals stress the importance of self-development to author one’s own career. Third, for this generation, diversity is a fact of life.

Read the full report here to find out what the study by London Business School states engages the younger generations at work.

This summary has been written by Engage for Success on the report owned by London Business School.