For nearly two years, I’ve been analyzing Gen Y–their preferences, where they’re coming from and what makes them tick–and suggesting how credit unions can tap into their market every month in this column. In 2013, Credit Union Times will retire the Gen Y Back Talk column, so this past month has been a time of reflection for me.
As a member of Gen Y myself, I’ve had a chance to ponder my own behaviors as well as the behaviors of the entire group, and I’ve realized that not one of us accurately represents the entire generation. Sometimes I’ll scroll through my 580 Facebook friends to remind myself of this: while one 30-year-old friend is single and spending a year abroad, another is a married homeowner with three kids.
They’re a diverse group, but from a marketing standpoint, organizations have no choice but to draw some generalized conclusions. As I bid farewell to the column, I’d like to share some final thoughts on Gen Y.
They’re overwhelmed. Gen Y members are bombarded with information 24/7 on their mobile devices, computers and TVs, and keep busy responding to emails, texts, posts and tweets. They receive constant updates on what their peers are doing and what’s happening around the world, which leaves them to second guess their own life and career choices. As a result, many of them are starting several new chapters in their adult lives and changing jobs frequently.
They don’t want to emulate children at 30. Gen Y members rely on their parents as a back-up plan for making ends meet. But they’re not living at home or accepting money out of greed or laziness, they’re doing it because it’s available to them and socially acceptable. Most of them are taking the help because in this tough economy, it’s their only opportunity to achieve a goal such as finishing a degree or purchasing a home, and once they’re financially independent and thriving, they’ll relish in it.
They’re passionate workers. They become easily bored with jobs that entail punching a clock and engaging in the same activities day in and day out. Working for companies with missions that don’t align with their personal interests or beliefs is also a turn-off. But if they’re doing work that’s meaningful and challenging, they’ll give their all to a job. They’re interested in working for small companies and start-ups, and credit unions should also take note that they have a thing for nonprofits. The problem is, it’s hard for them to land dream jobs that pay a living wage. They’re willing to accept imperfect jobs until they find something that makes them happy.