Gen Y Workers Want Technology Their Way

Millennial generation students and employees (those aged 14 to 27) expect to use their own technology and mobile devices for work and are increasingly choosing their place of employment based on how accommodating companies are to their personal technology preferences, according to a survey released today by Accenture. In addition, more than half (60 percent) of Millennials are either unaware of their companies’ information technology (IT) policies or are not inclined to follow them.

The survey, which queried more than 400 U.S. students and employees across three age groups -- 14-17 ("younger Millennials"), 18-22 ("mid-Millennials") and 23-27 ("older Millennials") -- found an increasing demand for high-tech devices to connect with colleagues, peers, friends and family, rather than face-to-face contact. The findings point to a disconnect between the technology that organizations provide their workers and how young workers actually want to use technology and collaborate in the workplace.

The survey’s key findings highlight specific workplace implications for today’s employers that affect corporate IT:

* Millennials want to choose their technology. Young people both in the workplace and in school say they expect to use their own technology and mobile devices for work rather than those supplied by their employer.
* No need to seek corporate approval. Three-quarters of the mid-Millenials report that they have accessed online collaborative tools (75 percent) and online applications (71 percent) from free public Web sites when those technologies were not available at work or not meeting their expectation.
* Lack of workplace education on corporate policy. Only 40 percent of all respondents said that their employers have published detailed policies related to posting work or client information on public Web sites.
* Younger employees insist on state-of-the-art technology. More than half (52 percent) of all Millennials surveyed said that state-of-the-art technology is an important consideration in selecting an employer.
* Organizations will need to provide new communication and collaboration channels. Millennials expect employers to provide communication channels such as online chat, instant messaging, mobile text messaging and RSS feeds to communicate with their customers and clients.
* Coming to the end of e-mail as we know it. While older Millennials say they spend an average of 9.5 hours a week writing or receiving work-related e-mails, mid-Millennials already in the workforce spend only 7.7 hours a week on e-mail. High school and young college students spend less than two hours a week e-mailing, instead preferring text and instant messaging and communicating on social networking sites.
* Blogging is more myth than reality. Regardless of age, Millennials spend an average of only 30 minutes a week blogging. This is far less than the time they spend searching for information on the Internet, listening to portable devices, text messaging, instant messaging, communicating on social network sites or interacting in virtual communities.

"The message from Millennials is clear: to lure them into the workplace, prospective employers must provide state-of-the-art technologies," said Gary Curtis, managing director of Accenture Technology Consulting. "And if their employers don’t support their preferred technologies, Millennials will acquire and use them anyway. In order to acquire and retain the best talent, organizations must understand the technologies that the new workforce expects and then find a way to support their employees without compromising enterprise security."

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