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Keep Gen Y from Running for the Door


Many employers complain that their youngest workers are the fastest to leave. But what makes Gen Y so quick to bolt? Are they lazy or is it that they are just unchallenged?

According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, the top young performers leave their jobs, on average, after the first 28 months. Why? Young workers aren't gaining the experience they desire; if the job stops teaching them, they move on to something new. Gen Y is thirsty for knowledge, skill mastery and improvement. 

I asked around the PayScale office to see what my co-workers think about the HBR's findings. Kayla Hill, research analyst, agreed with the report. "Many companies reward longevity above anything else, even if long-time workers have extremely poor basic computer skills. Imagine an environment where a Gen Y worker with technical skills doesn't get any opportunities to learn or grow, while long-time workers are rewarded despite not even being able to save a file."

Peter Lavitt, marketing manager, points out the fatal flaw in failing to educate young workers. "What I find interesting is that there has been a fear of educating and developing employees due to the possibility that the employee will leverage the knowledge and skills to advance their career [elsewhere]. For instance, past employees could often count on tuition reimbursement, certificate learning, and OJT to provide advancement of skill sets. There seems to have been a squelching of these sorts of incentives over the last decade+, to the point that this isn't something that many employers push as a benefit these days."

Do You Know What You're Worth?

What will happen next? Kayla predicts, "I anticipate the companies that emphasize longevity will find it increasingly difficult to retain Gen Y workers over time. People my age may temporarily go to these companies for the health benefits, but once they hit two to three years of experience, they will move on to companies with better packages and perks."

Tell Us What You Think

Are you a Gen Y worker who feels stuck in a job where you aren't learning anything new? Are you a manager who finds it difficult to retain young top performers? We want to hear from you. Share your experience and who knows? We might contact you to be featured in an upcoming blog. 

More from PayScale

Gen Y Prefers Small Employers

Gen Y Demands a Results Only Work Environment (R.O.W.E.)

Gen Y Has Great Job Skills, but Few Great Jobs

 (Photo credit: Green308/Flickr)

Alida Mooreston
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