Young people entering the workforce have an unprecedented sense of entitlement — and their bosses don’t like it. Their entitlement stems from the optimism that has surrounded them their entire lives. They’re a highly skilled and educated group — 77.1% of Year 10 Students go on to complete Year 12, and after Year 12, half go on to university and another quarter study at TAFE.
“They’ve never known economic bad times, they’ve come through an education system that has hidden them from failure, and the gap between wanting something and having it has shrunk,” says Michael Grose, a sociologist and parenting expert.
To generation Y, work is a place to test the waters. When Sheahan speaks with schoolkids, he uses his own experiences to show how important it is to research what a job involves — such as what an accountant actually does. “My experience shows it’s about getting a taste for the work — and knowing whether it’s genuinely for you.”
Grose takes this a step further: “What this group is missing and what employers need to remind them of is that there’s a whole lot of steps along the way to being good. ‘You want $1000 a day, and you can get there — but first you’ve got to do a course, then get some skills and be satisfied with $500.’”
It’s about instilling in them the importance of persistence, and challenging their notion of immediacy — a by-product of never being told they can’t do something.