Most workers worried, but not Gen Y


Most workers worried, but not Gen Y

At this time of economic crisis most workers are worried about job security — except generation Y.


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At this time of economic crisis most workers are worried about job security — except generation Y.
The latest survey to assess the impact of the economic crisis, Changing Workplace Dynamic Survey by The Mint Organization, shows that 90% of the Australian workforce believes that unemployment is set to rise even further.
However, 82% of Gen Y think their jobs are secure.
The survey suggests that eight out of ten working Australians believe the economy is having a negative impact on their work environment — and not just for the short term, according to 81% of respondents who predict the downturn to continue for longer than12 months.
Increased workload
The survey of 500 full-time employees, randomly selected from the Qualified Opinions Research Panel, also found that 75% of respondents have recently experienced increased workload or changed working conditions as a result of either redundancies or organisational restructuring.
This message is strongest in the Gen Y/Baby Boomer demographics, suggesting that Gen X/Middle Management employees may be bearing the brunt of job losses within the next six months.
Gen Y well positioned
'The current situation may be playing right into the hands of Gen Y,' said Dominic Toledo, general manager, The Mint Organization.
'Generational conflict first surfaced during the dot com boom but, with business models now again under review, who better to adjust to the new rules than Gen Y?'
The research indicates that having lived through an era of uninterrupted prosperity, 82% Gen Y consider that their jobs are secure.
'They continue to spend money, are fundamentally more optimistic in their outlook and, importantly, are picking up the work of higher priced employees,' said Toledo.
The rest may 'disengage'
Toledo said the impact on the remaining workforce is that employees are likely to disengage from the company, either due to 'demotivation' resulting from absorbing additional workload for the same or less pay, and/or the fear for job security.
'Clearly, job security is of paramount importance to employees right now,' said Toledo.
'In an uncertain economic environment, employers will need to take extra care in keeping employees engaged and motivated.'
Job motivation
In support of this, Toledo cites changes in the primary job motivation of employees over the past six months.
The survey revealed that job security is the leading motivator alongside remuneration at 29%, an increase of 62% over the past six months. The number of respondents citing remuneration remained unchanged suggesting a continued need to service household and personal debt.
Toledo said that such a fear for job security can reduce motivation among employees, which may both result in a disruption to company culture and seriously impact a company's bottom line through the indirect costs of reduced productivity, poor customer service and loss of critical skills.
More receptive
However, he said that at times like this people are more receptive to messages, and the accounting & financial services sectors seem to have embraced this opportunity with 67% of their employees being provided with regular employee updates regarding the impact of the current economic situation.
In fact, according to the survey, this sector provided the most positive outcomes across the board — joining the construction industry with an optimistic prediction that the economic downturn would last fewer than 12 months.
But, for the majority, communication is clearly an opportunity that is being missed; 43% of companies with >1000 staff members do not offer any form of communication to employees and an overwhelming 78% of employees have not received any type of reward or recognition in response to changed working conditions and increased workloads.
Will 'give now' to 'get later'
'Today's workforce knows that the stability of their income depends on the stability of their company and, it seems, they are willing to give in the short term, to get in the longer term,' Toledo said.
'Employers must continue to find ways to improve the work experience for their employees and align them with the company vision, or they may be faced with an unwelcome rise in employee departures when the economy improves.'
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