Managing the New Workforce
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Managing the New Workforce

International Perspectives on the Millennial Generation

Edited by Eddy S. Ng, Sean Lyons and Linda Schweitzer

Shifting demographics around the world have created a unique historical phenomenon in which a large cohort of employees (i.e., post-war Baby Boomers) are nearing retirement, and a new cadre of younger workers are being recruited to replace them. These twenty-something year-olds, often referred to as ‘Gen Y’ or Millennials, represent the workforce of the future and come with their own set of expectations, demands, and work habits. The contributors to this volume, drawn from countries around the world, document the cultural, historical, and social context surrounding this phenomenon. The international perspective makes it possible to examine cross-cultural similarities and differences in HRM practices. This timely book provides an understanding of the new workforce in multiple countries and settings and a valuable reference as scholars and employers seek to understand the values, beliefs, and expectations of the next generation of workers.
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Chapter 4: Generational career shift: Millennials and the changing nature of careers in Canada

Sean T. Lyons, Eddy S. Ng and Linda Schweitzer

Extract

Since the publication of Foot and Stoff man’s (1998) influential work Boom, Bust and Echo, there has been a lot written about understanding the social and economic behaviors among the different generations in Canada. The concept of “generations” is rooted in sociological theories. Members of the same generation share common experiences, such as events and circumstances, and tend to exhibit a general range of shared characteristics, beliefs and behavioral patterns (Howe and Strauss, 2007). Although definitions of specific generations may vary across different countries and cultures (Deal et al., 2010), there is awareness that the Millennials (those born on or after 1980 to 1995) are a unique generation, having beliefs, values and attitudes different from those of previous generations (Loughlin and Barling, 2001; Smola and Sutton, 2002). Members of a generation experience similar life events or circumstances at similar times in their lives (for example, living through the events of September 11, 2011), and thus form similar values, beliefs and attitudes which shape their behaviors (Howe and Strauss, 2007; Verne, 2011). The generational construct has been deemed to be a meaningful variable in organizational research (Lyons et al., 2007) and has been used to predict a host of individual and work-related outcomes such as work values (Cennamo and Gardner, 2008; Parry and Urwin, 2011), employee motivation (Jurkiewicz and Brown, 1998; Wong et al., 2008), career and organizational commitment (Blythe et al., 2008), work ethic (Meriac et al., 2010; Smola and Sutton, 2002), job satisfaction (Westerman and Yamamura, 2007) and turnover intentions (Kowske et al., 2010).

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