Busting the Gen Y Myth. What's to Love and How To Attract Them

4 Tips to Help You Attract Gen Y Talent During Recruitment


Gen Ys make up almost one-third of the workforce, yet, over the years, we’ve been unwisely led to believe they are lazy and disloyal. #YOLO - Promotion anyone?

But, Gen Ys are an asset to any organisation and whether you like it or not, they’ll be the future leaders soon after the Boomers retire. To attract the best Gen Y talent, you must improve how you communicate to meet their needs and expectations.

Let's explore the stereotypes and strengths of Gen Y – and 4 communication strategies you can use to attract the right talent to your organisation.

First, Let’s Understand the Gen Y Stereotype - Ambition

Probably a good time to pop in a disclaimer – I’m Gen Y. But, I write this without (much) bias and from a (mostly) objective view of life from the other side.

Gen Ys are our first Insta-Consumers. They’re 8 second consumers of information – they grew up with the internet boom and have an unusual attachment to their smartphone.

They are the first generation to access the news they want, how they want, and when they want. And, if they don’t like something – they’ll move on quickly to the next fix without blinking. Literally. They are so fast with technology.

They're also the most educated generation to enter the workforce. 

Unfortunately, there are many myths about Gen Y employees – negative stereotypes they've had to carry since graduating from uni and vocalising their dreams of becoming CEO within 5 years of professional employment.

Yes, Gen Y are ambitious.

They dream to succeed where their parents plateaued. Where the Baby Boomer parent chose stability, reliability, and loyalty to one manager and organisation (sometimes at the expense of deserved promotions or career development), the Gen Y only sees opportunity and hunger for growth.

Remember? Fast consumers of relevant information. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is being informed. Knowledge is growth and is wonderfully un-boring.

Knowledge is growth and is wonderfully, un-boring.

Consider that most people have full command of a role within 2 years of starting. Instead of choosing complacency – the Gen Y chooses continuous growth and development and expect the workplace to provide for them. They desire to be the best version of themselves. Unfortunately – this is still perceived as disloyal and overambitious because they’ll move on if employers don’t deliver.

The ambitious Gen Y does not many a friend make in a predominantly comfortable Boomer stronghold.

Let’s not forget the patient, yet driven, Gen X who’s floating somewhere in the middle respectfully waiting for the Boomers to retire so they may finally claim their earned place at the top of the sand castle.

Another disclaimer: I’m in graduate recruitment. I understand more than any that the younger they get, the more entitled they seem to be about employment prospects. I’m not defending the poor manners of a vocal minority. I’m merely sharing another view of the world from within it.

Gen Y Strengths

What most of the older generations tend to overlook is the strength and value the Gen Y brings to the workplace. They are:

  • Resilient
  • Creative thinkers (for innovation)
  • Problem solvers (but, get them fresh before ‘that’s not the way we do things around here’ beats them into submission)
  • Enthusiastic, confident, and driven to make a difference
  • Committed to community
  • Hungry for personal growth and skills development
  • Adaptive to new technologies
  • Driven to achieve work-life balance – more efficient workers
  • Embracing of diversity
  • Team players – there’s no solo mentality or ego here.

In a constantly changing environment – an enthusiastic, out-of-the-box, development-focused Gen Y is one of the best things going for your organisation.

So, how do you catch one?

Attracting the Gen Y During Recruitment

The driving influences on a Gen Y’s decision to accept a role are – work-life balance, workplace culture, and role quality/diversity/progression. These are easy-peasy for you to communicate to potential top talent.

1. Change your communication platform

Ditch the over-complicated wordiness. Instead, emphasise storytelling with photos, videos, and social media. NOTE: social is not about sales. Gen Y can sniff a tacky marketer out a MILE away. Instead, use your online presence to build brand awareness, emotional connection, and subtly promote your organisation through effective relationship building.

2. Realistic job previews

The number one question grads ask at career fairs is ‘what does a [insert job title] do at Organisation X?’ Profile your existing employees and celebrate achievements - share it on your Facebook and Instagram feeds. Over time, the Gen Y will learn who you are as an employer; your values, your culture, and your employee experience.

3. Refresh your old job descriptions

The old 5 page ones. Like, yesterday.
Again – we’re in a constantly changing environment – can you honestly tell me that the job description you’re advertising (that you’ve used for the last 10 years) is an accurate representation of the role they’ll be doing for the next 12 months? 'Cause, I doubt it. Use short, simple, compelling language that entices your talent by selling the experiences and benefits of the role. And then, consider looking to technology for a more dynamic way to sell it.

4. Communicate your employer brand

Employer branding is the top recruitment trend presently as people seek meaning and a sense of belonging to the communities they work within. Promoting a strong, consistent employer brand across all your channels (social, website, Youtube, and in your recruitment campaign communications and updates) demonstrates your culture and helps you stand out from your competitors. Be honest, authentic, and communicative.

Recruitment is Changing

You can’t rely on outdated recruitment processes to attract fresh, young, innovative young talent to your organisation. Recruitment now is more about selling your organisation as a top place to work than it is about finding the talent. If you do a great job - they'll find you. Embrace your employer brand and boldly promote it to all that will listen and the right young people will come knocking.

Get in touch if you'd like to explore your employer brand communication strategy so you can start attracting awesome young talent to your organisation!