But for all of Gen Y’s impact on the marketing world, its impact on the workforce is arguably even more significant.
For many employers, this group remains an enigma. Depending on who you ask, members of Gen Y, also commonly referred to as millennials, are either fast-learning, tech-savvy youngsters eager to devote themselves to meaningful opportunities or entitled brats who feel they should be running a company before they’ve worked a single day in the trenches.
But as a growing percentage of individuals who are in Gen Y enter the workforce, where are they really going and what are they really doing?
According to a study conducted by compensation software and data provider PayScale, the highest percentage (47%) of Gen Yers are working for companies with fewer than 100 employees; less than a quarter (23%) are at companies employing more than 1,500 people, something that jives with other studies that have looked at the type of companies millennials are most likely to join.
When it comes to industry, the best employers for Gen Yers are, perhaps not surprisingly, in tech. In looking at factors like pay, flexibility and job satisfaction across the companies it tracks, PayScale found that Qualcomm, Google, Medtronic, Intel and Microsoft — all of which are in technology — are the top five companies for members of Gen Y.
That companies in technology-oriented markets have warmed up to Gen Yers more rapidly than companies in other markets makes a lot of sense when one considers that, while many Gen Yers in the United States are unemployed or in jobs that don’t require the college degrees they’ve earned, PayScale found that “the most common Gen Y job skills center around online marketing and social media” and degrees related to science and entrepreneurship are commonplace.
Obviously, there aren’t enough jobs in tech to employ every tech-savvy or entrepreneurial millennial, so a big question is how companies in other industries will seek to maximize the impact of Gen Y in their workforces. Although some of the concerns around Gen Yers may be warranted, with this group set to comprise nearly half of all workers in the U.S. by 2020, it’s safe to say that this is no longer a question of if, but rather how and how fast.