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Today's Gen. Y about Technology, Speed, Family

Generation Y are thought to be the troublemakers of society and out of control, but has anyone sat down and asked Generation Y what they think?

A survey conducted by UCM, through online interactive sessions with teens from Missouri and across the U.S., shows that Gen. Y, people born between 1977 and 1994, do not like the idea of labeling. They are a goal-oriented, independent, optimistic, skeptical, confident, expressive group of young adults.


UCM students, studying and talking on cell phone
Generation Y, people born between the years of 1977 and 1994, are known for their abilities to multi-task and find their cell phones an essential element of everyday life.

What Defines Generation Y


Technology, speed and authenticity truly define Generation Y. They see the world in shades of gray instead of only black and white. They believe education is important in taking the first step toward, making it big.

Studies have shown 75 percent of Generation Y have an optimistic and hopeful outlook for their future.

Generation Y believe in self-expression over self-control and speed over patience. They live in a fast-paced technology driven world and they need the skills to keep up. They expect 24/7 Internet access.


Cell Phones Indispensable


Cell phones are a big part of Generation Y's life. Lori Smith, a UCM sophomore, said, "I feel lost without my cell phone." Over half of them use cell phones for text-messaging, email or Internet access, in addition to traditional calls. Smith says she uses text messaging at least 15 to 20 times a day.

Compared to Baby Boomers, Generation Y are more family-oriented. Although they are used to nontraditional families, 90 percent said they are very close to their parents, and 44 percent consider their parents to be role models. Generation Y live by work less, enjoy life more and put family above all else.


Work Habits Vary from Baby Boomers


Generation Y work more than previous generations, about 17 hours a week. And their work habits are vastly different, says Teresa Alewel, director of UCM's Office of Career Services. Alewel made national news this fall being quoted on the subject.

Gen. Y enjoy multi-tasking and a casual work environment. In their rubber flip-flops, they instant message and listen to their iPods. These attitudes often challenge employers, Alewel said.

"These students have been logged on since grade school and are a different breed," said Alewel. It's not a negative thing. They are more in tune with the competitors in their industry and can use their problem-solving skills to come up with new products that can actually benefit companies.


Personal, Professional Lives Blend


Because they blend work into their personal lives seamlessly and wirelessly, Gen. Y can balk at a rigid office structure. "If they are told jeans or nightclub-friendly attire isn't acceptable at the office, they'll ask why they have to dress up," Alewel explained.

Gen. Y also believe in using their debit and credit cards, preferring the fast service they provide at gas stations and fast food restaurants. The study showed about one-third of high school seniors and about three-fourths of college students have at least one credit card.

When asked, Generation Y said the number one thing they are saving their money for is college. About 90 percent of high school seniors said they expect to attend college and about 88 percent of teens said college is either critical or very important to success.

Generation Y have been misunderstood but when studied and asked how they feel about what they are doing, its members may not be as bad as everyone believes.

By Emily Hackman '06