Posts tagged ‘Generation “Y”’

Hogwash & Hiring Standards

By Matt Barcus
President, Precision Executive Search
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC, home of

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I feel compelled to write about something I recently read about Generation Y.  In the most recent issue of CE News Magazine there was an article written at the very end of the periodical titled “New Era of Opportunity.”  Initially the article discusses civil engineering and the turbulent economic crisis and how companies should handle the current economic climate.   The latter part of the article articulates that firms and agencies should be prepared to enter a “new era of employee relations as they begin to bring on members of the Y Generation.”  As a Gen X’r myself, not too far removed (in my own mind anyway) from Gen Y, I would have to agree with much of what the author suggested in regards to their character traits.   One item did strike a chord with me though:

They (Gen Y) live for the moment.  They expect to make many job changes is their careers.

And then, as a result,

They (Hiring Managers) will need to expect higher turnover rates and find ways of accommodating this change.

As I see it, the Hiring Managers should not tolerate high turnover rates and should not prepare to accept frequent job moves from Gen Y, but rather adapt the work place and company culture in other ways that would reduce, or at least maintain, current turnover rates.

Frequent job moves may be acceptable in the IT industry, but no matter how high-tech your civil engineering firm, and no matter how IT savvy it may be,  erratic job changes in this industry will always be frowned upon. The consulting civil engineering industry is about relationships and trust between client and consultant.  If Mr. Gen Y travels from firm to firm every few years, not only does he lose professional credibility and a diminishing level of trust for himself, but for the firm that he or she is working for at that time as well.  Certainly Generation Y is a very different generation from those of the past, and they do have a lot to offer.  Because of that, it is imperative that your firm constantly evaluate and evolve it’s philosophy, technology and work environment to meet the needs of the generational workforce.   One constant that should remain is your ability to hire the right people, and no matter what generation you may come from,  giving into the idea that you need to accept the fact that you will need to lower your standards to accommodate the new generation of engineers that will make frequent job changes is, in the words of a generation much earlier than mine, “hogwash.”

As side note, I JUST received this video via email and thought you might be interested.  ERE recently interviewed some folk on their thoughts of Gen Y, take a look:

And, Just Curious:


October 23, 2008 at 3:41 pm 2 comments

Understanding Generation “Next”

By Matt Barcus, President, Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC, home of

Okay, if you have not noticed, the analysis of “Generation Y” or “Generation Next” has been getting  a lot of attention in our industry these days.  You see this topic discussed here on our blog and forum, and it has been discussed in countless newsletters and trade journals, including the April e-newsletter published by (If you would like to sign up for our newsletter BTW, click HERE ).  Now that we have the self promotion of our site out of the way, let me get to point 😉 !

I recently read the following comment on ERE:

“Serial job seekers job hop, as if they are job seeker junkies. They get a thrill from it. I think we will find a number of Gen Y Serial Job Seekers who are early in their career but I don’t think those individuals will be job hopping for long. In my experience of examining the Generations and their work values, Gen Y is not motivated by money. It is career pathing, social factors and a sense of job ownership that they seek.”

Barb Irwin & Cara Bobchek of HR Advisors Group in D.C. recently conducted a study which ultimately backs this statement up.  According to their research, the most significant factor in determining their (Gen Y)   decision to accept their current position was future career opportunities.  I believe that the young professionals of today will bounce around some early in their careers until they find the firm that delivers on their promises and will allow them to grow and advance at a faster pace than what we have seen in the past, and that offers a level of flexibility that this industry has not yet encountered.  I think they want to be loyal to a firm, as long as the firm is being loyal to them.  Part of the contributing factor to their frequent job changes early on, compared to earlier generations, is that there are SO many options out there SO readily available through SO many different medias, medias that did not exist in generations past.

Let’s look at another excerpt from the article written by HR Advisors Group:

‘ “…It seems that the younger generation is so used to whining and getting what they want. It almost seems like they feel that the company works for them instead of they work for the company.” ‘

It’s a common theme that we’re hearing more and more in our HR and management consulting practice:  younger workers appear to carry a “sense of entitlement” in their careers. Employers ask us, “How do we manage the younger generation in our firms, especially in light of the different approach that they seem to take to their careers than the older (my) generation?”

The “sense of entitlement” comment struck a chord with one of our readers who felt the need to respond to that tag with the following comment:

“Our generation keeps being blamed for that “entitlement” regarding our careers but I think the problem is that we now need to prepare ourselves more than the other generations.  I got out of college a yr ago with a degree in Business Management, another one in Civil Engineering and I am prominent in AutoCAD, Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Project…..not to mention I am fluent in english and spanish….but when looking for a job companies still offer us salaries as if we didn’t go to school and expect us to work 10+ hour days.  I don’t think “entitlement” is the problem, I think is those companies who don’t know the importance of their human resources what carries the real problem.  Getting an engineering degree is not easy, and therefore we deserve to be paid accordingly”

So what does all of this mean?  Where do we go from here?  How do we take the philosophy that has been successfully learned and depended on for so many years by the existing civil engineering leadership…and change it?  How is your organization responding to this issue?

April 30, 2008 at 5:53 pm Leave a comment

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