Gen Y Ups the Ante for Technology in the Workforce

By Gina Roos  |  Posted 2013-08-28 Email Print this article Print

Generation Y employees will dominate the labor force in the next five to 10 years, and that brings high expectations for technology in the workplace, according to a recent CompTIA study, Generational Research on Technology and its Impact in the Workplace. How technically savvy potential employers are is high on the list for many Gen Y respondents when they evaluate job offers. What does this mean to channel businesses? Many will have to reassess how they hire, train and equip their workforces, the study finds. Channel companies are like any other business dealing with a changing workforce, said Carolyn April, CompTIA director, industry analysis and lead author of the study. They will need to make adjustments concerning the younger workforce's different preferences for technology tools, training methods, type of professional development and customer support. Channel partners—especially managed service providers who manage and support the IT after the sale—will also have to deal with changes at their customers who are also hiring a younger set of procurement professionals and line-of-business managers who often prefer leading-edge technology, April said. Here, Channel Insider outlines key findings of the CompTIA study.

  • Bye-Bye Baby Boomers

    As older Boomers reach retirement age, Gen Y and Gen X workers will be filling the gap. The workforce is expected to shift to Gen Y by 2020. This means businesses will need to adapt to a new set of expectations, attitudes and work preferences, including IT tools they like to use. This will be compounded by the industry's adoption of cloud computing, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) philosophies and social media.
    1-Bye-Bye Baby Boomers
  • Employers Need to Tech-Up

    Thirty-two percent of Gen Y and 22 percent of Gen X survey respondents consider how savvy a potential employer is a significant factor in job selection. This compares with only 19 percent of Baby Boomers.
    2-Employers Need to Tech-Up
  • Getting Good Grades

    About 50 percent of survey respondents said their employers were either cutting-edge or in the "upper tier" in their use of technology. When describing their own skills, 22 percent of Gen Y respondents said they had cutting-edge tech skills, while 43 percent believe they have upper- tier use of technology.
    3-Getting Good Grades
  • Tech at Work

    The survey finds that 74 percent of Gen Y workers used a smartphone for work in the last year, compared with 37 percent of Baby Boomers. BYOD is a big trend for younger workers; 61 percent of 20-somethings and 59 percent of 30-somethings said they use a personal device or application for work.
    4-Tech at Work
  • Tech Gender Gap

    While 65 percent of males said they used a smartphone for work compared with 44 percent of females, 72 percent of males used a laptop for work versus 55 percent of females.
    5-Tech Gender Gap
  • Everybody Agrees Microsoft Leads in Software Apps

    Most office workers prefer Microsoft software apps. Nearly nine in 10 workers used MS Word in the last year and another seven in 10 used MS Excel. The percentages held across every age bracket from their 20s to 60s, ranging from 86 percent to 88 percent of survey respondents. However, younger workers are twice as likely to use alternative word processing or productivity apps.
    6-Everybody Agrees Microsoft Leads in Software Apps
  • Training Is Tops for Gen Y

    Although 75 percent of respondents participated in mandatory or voluntary training over the past 12 months, Gen Y workers participated in voluntary training at a higher rate than any other age bracket.
    7-Training Is Tops for Gen Y
  • Gen Y Prefers E-Learning

    Employers will need to bolster their e-learning training programs to keep their younger workers happy. Thirty-four percent of all survey respondents participated in e-learning over the past 12 months, but the biggest participants were Gen Y workers with 45 percent of them using this as a method of training.
    8-Gen Y Prefers E-Learning
  • Tech Satisfaction

    Three out of four employees are satisfied with their employer's ability to repair, troubleshoot, and maintain devices and applications. However, they fully expect IT support service needs to grow, according to 50 percent of Gen Y, 48 percent of Gen X and 42 percent of Baby Boomer respondents.
    9-Tech Satisfaction
  • Resolve IT Issues Faster

    Survey respondents in all age brackets agreed they want faster support/resolution of IT issues. Sixty percent of Gen Y, 53 percent of Gen X and 53 percent of Baby Boomers rank faster support as their key preference for improving IT support. This is followed by more proactive maintenance so issues are addressed before becoming a big problem, according to 37 percent of Gen Y, 47 percent of Gen X and 40 percent of Baby Boomer respondents.
    10-Resolve IT Issues Faster
Gina Roos is a business and technology writer who has contributed print and Web articles to leading electronic industry publications. She was Editor-in-Chief at Electronics Sourcing North America, and served as Site Editor for UBM's Green SupplyLine and Electronics Supply & Manufacturing Websites. She also authored the "In the Channel" column, covering the electronics distribution industry for EETimes ProductWeek. Gina was the founder and editor of Electronics Advocate, an online magazine covering design and supply chain issues in the electronics industry. The publication was sold to MMG Publishing UK in 2010. Gina has a degree in journalism.

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