Gen Y can’t get no satisfaction

Free five-star food, five months paid maternity, free yoga classes, regular cash bonuses and a hip working culture. Legendary dream job at Google? Not according to Generation Y.

Tech companies struggle to hold onto disinterested Gen Y staff.
Tech companies struggle to hold onto disinterested Gen Y staff.


A recent report from Bloomberg News shows that Google – despite its many benefits, cool factor, international scale and technological innovation – can’t hold onto workers. In spite of being voted Forbes Magazine list of best companies to work for since 2007. Although it boasts an 84 per cent satisfaction rate, the average Google worker leaves after just one year. What is happening? The question – and the answer  to ask is –Y.

The medium age of Google’s 28,500-strong workforce is 29. To the predominantly Gen Y staff, it doesn’t matter how many carrots are dangled in front of them, how good the salary is, how exceptional conditions are or how much they are valued, needed, catered to – it simply isn’t good enough.

And it is not only Google. Many tech and professional services companies are finding they cannot retain staff. The skills gap is getting larger.  Although Yahoo pays an average of $107,000 a year, the median tenure is 2.4 years. Compare this to ExxonMobile which has a median tenure of 6.5 years.

The opinion is if you are going to hire the smartest young people available for work you should expect them to become quickly bored and dissatisfied. Unlike previous generations, who would consider long-term prospects before risking job security, Gen Y simply jumps ship.

Meanwhile at Google.... despite a hip workplace, the median tenure at the company is just one year.
Meanwhile at Google…. despite a hip workplace, median tenure at the company is just one year.


Long gone (thankfully) are the days of child labour in the coal mines. But now, in its place, we see companies somersaulting in order to lure Gen Y workers to – shock horror – make long-term work commitments.

Unfortunately, it is an attitude completely untenable with reality. In Australia, unemployment has risen to 5.7 per cent. Over the past 12 months, the number of Youth Allowance recipients has soared 30 per cent.

The ‘no-collar workers’ may be facing a tougher economic situation but their attitude seems to say, ‘What unemployment?’ ‘What financial crisis?’

With over one million workers enrolling into university last year, the situation will only worsen. In a few years, Australia will see even more educated and qualified applicants – who are grossly lacking any practical experience – flock to join the workforce.

Perhaps then, Gen Y will pause, at least for a moment or two, and think ‘maybe I shouldn’t leave the job with the free yoga classes.’  But until then, beware the educated idiot; they come with an employment health warning.

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