Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Next Generation Y and their values

Straits Times July 23, 2012

SINGAPORE'S 'Linksters' view themselves as global citizens, are optimistic about the future and their values are firmly entrenched in the family.
These traits showed up when The Straits Times spoke to 200 students between the ages of 13 and 19 last month. They were asked about their social and economic backgrounds and current influences in face-to-face interviews.
Broadly, they have grown up in small, more affluent households with an average of 3.5 members. By contrast, the Department of Statistics had it that the average teenager in 1970 grew up in a household with 5.4 family members, and in 1990, with 4.2 members.
Twenty years ago, just over half - or 51.5 per cent - of families lived in HDB four-room flats or larger, including private housing. In 2010, this number had jumped to 74.4 per cent. In the Straits Times poll, 167 lived in such flats, or 83.5 per cent, including private housing.

More than a quarter, 26.7 per cent of respondents, lived in households with a maid. Almost everyone had at least one computer at home - about 50 per cent had two or three. About 50 per cent also owned their own cameras and music players, while about 40 per cent had portable game consoles.
Culturally, Linksters feed off viral videos, ubiquitous social media and live Twitter updates. The result: a heightened awareness of world issues, even if they do not act on it. Up to 72.5 per cent agreed they 'felt strongly' on issues such as animal welfare and poverty, but only a third - 32.1 per cent - were doing something about it.
Interview results also suggested an ambivalence towards local politics. When asked if they felt they mattered in the development of public policy, most indicated a 'neutral' response.

Like Gen Y a decade ago, many Linksters grow up in homes with live-in maids; they have fewer siblings and more disposable income.
Linksters come from even smaller households, where families have shifted from a 'parent- centric' to a 'child-centric' dynamic, as sociologist Tan Ern Ser of the National University of Singapore put it.
Their parents dote on them and shield them from hardships such as deprivation, he said.
But though they take these material things for granted, they say they do not seek affluence. They aspire towards loftier ideals and, nurtured by Internet connectedness, identify themselves as global citizens (see table).
These results from The Straits Times' interviews echo the findings of Singapore-based LifeWorkz, a training and management consultancy specialising in work-life and generation issues.
Having observed qualitative focus groups of more than 500 young people in four societies (China, India, Singapore and Hong Kong), it found that teens today regard personal time as a 'premium commodity'. Globally, Linksters are similar, they are less worried about bread-and-butter issues and more likely to 'choose where they want to live, then find work there'.
They set high career goals. 'For example, they will be asking to be posted to London and New York, not the far-flung parts of China. There is a lot of work in emerging countries, but this generation may not want to go there,' said Ms Liew-Chng, referring to youth generally across countries.

Associate Professor Tan calls them 'post-materialist', unconcerned about fulfilling basic needs because they have never had to worry about money. They are also less traditional in their ways.
Linksters use phones as an active medium - for exchanging news and information, and to express themselves. Reaching a wide community through a mobile phone tops their list of priorities.
But when it comes to work, being 'offline' is a prized commodity. For instance, they may not want to take on jobs that require them to carry BlackBerry devices and answer e-mail 24/7. As consumers, this interconnectedness has made them a homogenous demographic. Universally, Linksters are exposed to the same brands and marketing, as geographical location has become irrelevant.  As they come of age, businesses, employers and even governments will want to steel themselves for this demanding generation: They want things fast, flexible and in tune with their beliefs. To meet the challenges of crashing economies and global unemployment, they must be prepared.

They are not reticent, like Gen X-ers or Baby Boomers, about making themselves heard.

With courtesy of COE ( Center for Organizational Effectiveness )

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