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 5: "Going through the mist": early career transitions of Chinese Millennial returnees

Emily T. Porschitz, Chun Guo and José Alves


Over the past decade management practitioners have sought to understand the career expectations of the Millennial generation–those born between 1979 and 1994 (Myers and Sadaghiani, 2010)–who are rapidly becoming a dominant force in the global economy. As workers from the Baby Boomer generation move towards retirement, organization leaders are becoming more interested in understanding how to attract and retain millennial employees most effectively (Walmsley, 2007). A large body of research is devoted to uncovering the career expectations of millennial workers, so that practitioners can better understand them. Findings suggest Millennials have high expectations regarding career success as well as work–life balance and are not loyal to their employers (Hershatter and Epstein, 2010; Ng et al., 2010; Smith, 2010). Millennial workers who have extensive cross-cultural education and work experience are increasingly common. As global flows of resources, information and people are increasing, young workers with educational and/or work experience aboard are highly valued by many employers. In this study, we focus on a group of Millennial-age migrants who are considered important in an emerging economy–young Chinese returnees who have both studied and worked abroad before returning to their home country (Conlin, 2007; Li, 2005). The study focuses specifically on Chinese millennial returnees in their twenties and early thirties and uncovers details regarding their career expectations and transitions in the process of migrating back to their homeland, China.

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