It hasn’t always been easy to gain a foothold in the workplace for members of the so-called Generation Y population, which broadly encompasses those born between 1977 and the early 2000s. The group has often been seen as unwilling to start small, pay their dues or do the grunt work their older colleagues waded through in the traditional corporate hierarchy.
“Every generation feels the one after it has it easier. I think this must be something that’s gone on since the beginning of time,” said Greg Clarkin, a college-recruiting specialist for Meditech, the Westwood, Mass., based software company focusing on the health care industry. The company has a facility in Fall River and recruits regularly on Rhode Island campuses.
“There’s always a big focus on the negative,” Clarkin said. “But there are a lot of assets to this group.”
And as the generation, many of whom are entering college this year, moves to join or replace their parents’ in the workforce, employers are moving to accommodate their needs in order to attract their talents.
The oldest members of Generation Y – sometimes called millennials – and so nicknamed for their succession after Generation X and because they largely came of age around the turn of the century – are already well into their careers and their numbers are growing.
In 2008, there were 75 million millennials who comprised just 10 percent of the country’s workforce, compared to 51 million Gen Xers who made up 40 percent of the workforce. Baby boomers, those born in post World War II years, made up 45 percent of the workforce and traditionalists, those born from 1900-1945, made up 5 percent.
Just two years later, according to research from Catalyst, a nonprofit focused on expanding opportunities for women and businesses with United States offices in New York and California, Gen Y workers were 24.7 percent of the workforce while Gen Xers, the oldest of whom were then in their mid-40s, had slipped to 32.2 percent and baby boomers to 39 percent.