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Ashridge Business School ME provides new insight about Gen Y

Research

Ashridge Business School ME provides new insight about Gen Y

New research reveals that the Generation Y workforce in the Middle East is exceptionally driven, hungry for educational opportunities and values the role of older colleagues according to a study by Ashridge Business School.

The report A New Generation: The Success of Generation Y in GCC Countries, based on a survey of 300 local Gen Y (those aged 30 years and under) employees across the GCC countries provides new insights for managers and employers to better understand, lead and develop the Gen Y workforce. Gen Y is a critical talent pool in the GCC and in a multi-cultural, multi-generational business environment it is crucial to understand their motivations, aspirations and interactions with colleagues.

Key research findings include:

Gen Y is a strongly motivated workforce

· 76 percent of Gen Y locals in the GCC say that the pressure to succeed at work is ‘strong’, with the highest percentage coming from Qatar (80 percent) and UAE (80 percent)

· The strongest drive comes from their own personal ambition (59 percent) and is higher for females (66 percent) than males (56 percent), although parents/family and religion are also very influential (26 percent)

Gen Y want managers who are ‘visionary’ and ‘democratic’ rather than ‘commanding’

· Gen Y in the GCC value leaders who create shared values, share information and gain team contributions via participation. Traditional command and control leadership is rapidly falling out of favor

· Gen Y in Bahrain and Saudi want more ‘democratic’ managers, while Gen Y in Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE want more ‘visionary’ managers; Gen Y in Oman want both ‘visionary’ and ‘democratic’ managers

· Gen Y are also seeking their managers to develop their motivational (36 percent), leadership (33 percent) and team/management skills (27 percent)

Career success is measured by ‘a high salary’, ‘knowledge and expertise’ and ‘good work/life balance’

· Success is very important and is measured by high salary (54 percent), knowledge and expertise (46 percent) and good work-life balance (37 percent)

· Gen Y value ‘qualifications’ (85 percent) and ‘formal training’ (83 percent), which are ranked as important by all countries

· Executives/senior management and managers are also highly rated as valuable sources of learning

· Although Gen Y appear very confident, the survey shows that greater self-esteem would help them succeed

Gen Y want to develop their ‘people’, ‘leadership’ and ‘team management’ skills to succeed

· People skills such as influencing and communication (26 percent) and leadership skills (25 percent) are highly-valued by Gen Y

· Gen Y are also keen to develop decision-making and people motivation skills

The main differences in the generations are that Gen Y ‘speak their mind’, 26 percent are more willing to share information, make instant decisions and are always switched-on from a technological perspective. Bucking the global trend, Gen Y in the GCC recognize and respect the importance of older colleagues’ experience, and admire their communication skills, decision-making capabilities, perseverance and patience.

Sue Honore, associate researcher at the Ashridge Business School, says in a press release, “Driven by rapidly-changing technology, globalization and greater international communication capabilities, Generation Y have burst into the world of work. Organizations can benefit from the demographic diversity in GCC countries by better understanding different perspectives, developing the ability of generations to share talents and facilitating collaboration to establish a major competitive advantage.”

Practical steps employers can take to harness the desire to succeed to engage and empower Gen Y employees:

· Ensure that managers can develop capability to flex their style. Support leaders who are being challenged to change and adopt more visionary and democratic styles by offering developmental opportunities

· Structure development programs and plans for women to encourage progression in the workplace and hone their leadership skills

· Offer continued professional development programs to employees at an early stage in their career, particularly around leadership development and people skills programs

· Provide formally-recognized qualifications and access to high-quality, structured training

· Consider what career success means for Gen Y, and develop a more personalized approach towards talent development and retention

· Develop the ability to share talents between generations and facilitate collaboration through coaching, mentoring and stretch-projects

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