Generation Y and the Changing Workforce

I have covered Generation Y (aka Generation Screwed) numerous times on this blog, often trying to show both sides of the coin on were my generation is headed.

On a boring Saturday night, on my computer, I pulled a fantastic infograph on some interesting Gen Y stats from (Below).


Image Credit:

Workforce notes we are the most educated generation ever, along with being the most tech savy. Heck, 90% of generation Yers own an electronic device.

But here are some things that this infograph should make you think about, now, but in the future.

This generation, unlike others want meaning in their workplace. We want constant feedback from our bosses. We do not tolerate a lot of garbage. We want a high quality workplace. We want environmental sustainability. We are even wanting to accept lesser money for more challenges (which makes me wonder why the rise of interns. Read Intern Nation).

While it sucks now, and it may get worse, perhaps something to consider is by 2025, 75% of the world’s workforce (here is hoping) will consist of generation Yers.

If this is true, and as of 2012, only 45% of American information workforce in a corporate office, there could be a lot of potential to see a lot of game changing entrepreneurship, and a lot of startups. This may very well be the most entrepreneurial generation also.

Will this mean a new wealth boom in the future? I don’t know. It’s doubtful in the short-term. Macleans a few weeks ago noted millennials are the New Underclass citing the huge economic and financial challenges slapping them in the face:

Equally troubling, university-educated Canadians experienced a relative increase in unemployment between 1997 and 2005 and a corresponding dip in relative wages, according to a federal government study. By contrast, those with a college, or even a high school education, managed to improve (or at least maintain) their outlook, relative to other workers. In fact, the only group that experienced a similar relative increase in unemployment during the period were those Canadians without even a high school diploma.

………….. It wasn’t always so bleak for Canada’s youth. Wayne Lewchuk, a professor of labour studies at Hamilton’s McMaster University, grew up in Windsor, Ont., and recalls that many of his university buddies took assembly-plant jobs with Chrysler and Ford after graduating in the mid-1970s. The work wasn’t great, but it paid well and the benefits were good. “If you’re measuring life purely by your material standard of living, then they’ve had a much better life than I’ve had,” says Lewchuk, who instead went back to school to pursue two more degrees. “They started working 10 years before I even got my first paycheque.”

Of course, most of those automotive jobs are long gone. So are many other relatively high-paying factory jobs in Ontario and Quebec. They are casualties of globalization and Canada’s subsequent shift toward a “knowledge-based economy”—one that’s built on providing services instead of forging things out of plastic and steel. At the same time, the global commodity boom that began around 2003 refocused attention on Canada’s vast resources, particularly oil and gas. But despite the billions poured into Alberta’s oil sands, there’s mounting evidence to suggest that Canadian workers, collectively, are no better off. The CGA study, for example, suggested the proportion of workers employed in industries with above-average earnings declined between 1991 and 2011, despite strong overall growth in the economy.

Wages are only part of the picture. Unions, once the guarantor of a comfortable middle-class lifestyle, have shrivelled as employers cut back on pension and health care benefits in a bid to better compete in a globalized market. Indeed, the very concept of a gold-plated, defined-benefit corporate pension plan (which guarantees a certain level of retirement income) has all but disappeared. A recent study by the debt-rating agency, Dominion Bond Rating Service, found that as many as two-thirds of North American defined-benefit plans are underfunded. Many companies are pushing new employees over to less costly and less comprehensive defined-contribution plans.”

Will millennials/Generation Y have the same standard of living like Baby Boomers? Let me know what you think, hit me up by email at, Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.


Does Generation Screwed Need to be the “Entrepreneurial Society?”


On my blog, I have provided extensive coverage about “Generation Screwed,” and the challenges they face in order to stave off being one of the generation’s that is going to be worse off than their parents.

I had on my last post regarding this generation in September, provided some solutions, including reforming the education system and higher participation rates of labour unions, if necessary.

Recently, I had found some interesting analysis on the world of on-line freelance work.

A recent article from Website Magazine discussed the recent results from an Elance survey that interviewed 3,000 people about their freelance situation with some interesting statistics, showing a potential new future employment trend.

The survey found most online freelancers are either come from Generation Y (millennials) 48% or Generation X , 38%.

Elance also noted that 42% of survey participants have bachelor degrees, and 24% masters.

Meanwhile, 67% of freelance professionals said they expect more money to roll in from their work within the next year, exceeding the 57% of respondents who had seen their income grow in 2012.

The strongest demand from the Elance survey in the past year came from web design (574% increase), voice acting (295% increase) and content writing (256% growth). That’s astonishing numbers, and showing that on-line freelance work could be the real deal in finding work in a globalized economy.

Here are some other interesting facts that came from this survey, that people should pay attention to:

Elance noted that most freelancers are on the go, with 2-6 projects ongoing all the time, with 70% happier and 79% more productive than if they were working for someone.

All most half work as full-time freelancers, at 48%, while 25% do this as a part-time gig, as they slug at a full-time job.

Survey respondents in 2013 expect to see the biggest growth in the freelance market in various areas including: web and mobile programming, content writing, online marketing, graphic design, and the multi media market.

Men also dominate as the majority in freelancing, taking of 58% of the jobs, compared to 42% of females.

Fabio Rosati, CEO of Elance, puts it nicely in perspective in the shift we are seeing in how work is done, thanks to freelancing:

“In just a few short years, freelancing has gone from a last resort option to a lucrative and fulfilling career,” said Fabio Rosati, president and CEO of Elance.  “As a ‘Business of One’, your potential is no longer constrained by where you live or the corporate hierarchy – the survey results clearly show that the online work opportunities are enormous.”

Does, this mean that freelancing will be the cure to all of the problems of this generation? I doubt it. If you look at a recent report by the Community Foundations of Canada. The report points to Canadians are some of the best educated in the world and more educated than ever, crippling debt, baby boomers not retiring fast enough and the lack of job opportunities are smashing the dreams of “Generation Screwed.”  We need to pay more attention to this as we are going to be paying for our parents health care and houses, which we can’t afford. How we get their, will take innovative ideas, and retooling a lot of the old institutions, and allowing boomers to retire faster than a Dodge Ram.

However, maybe, if the on-line freelance trend continues to advance, Generation Y and some of Generation X may have to change some of their thinking around. I know as a freelance writer, currently some of the work is very minimal. But while I work full-time, I am building contacts to advance my career, in what I want to do: either renewable energy/climate policy. Plus, if I continue to work at it more clients will come, thus hopefully creating a legitimate small business down the road.

Freelance work won’t solve all the problems. But for Generation Y, an “Entrepreneurial Society,” could alleviate some of the employment ills.