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How Gen Y & Boomers Will Reshape Your Agenda
by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Laura Sherbin,and Karen Sumberg
Right now, managers of people are operating in full recessionary mode. They’re wrestling with whether and how much to reduce head count, weighing alternatives like furloughs and paycuts, and generally trying to get by with less. Not many are focused on what just a few years ago was described as “the war for talent.” As the economy recovers, however, companies will return to thechallenge of winning over enough highly capable professionals to drive renewal and growth. Only then will they realize that the rules of engagement have changed—that the landscape of talentmanagement has been transformed. The combination of Generation Y eagerly advancing up the professional ranks and Baby Boomers often refusing to retire has, over the course of a few short years, dramaticallyshifted the composition of the workforce; each of these generations is roughly twice the size of Generation X, which lies between them. More important, Boomers and Gen Ys are together redefining whatconstitutes a great place to work. As we will show, they tend to share many attitudes and behaviors that set them apart from other generations. These shared preferences constitute a new center ofgravity for human resources management. Portrait of Gen Y (Located at the end of this article) Portrait of Baby Boomers (Located at the end of this article) Going forward, what will it take to be anemployer of choice? Last year, the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force, a group of 50 multinational companies committed to global talent innovation, took up this challenge. Four of the companies—Booz AllenHamilton, Ernst & Young, Time Warner, and UBS—spearheaded two large-scale, nationally representative surveys: one, in June 2008, of 3,782 employed college graduates and the other, in January 2009, of 1,046...