All those workplace anecdotes about young people being difficult to manage aren't finding a lot of traction in reality, according to a report put out this summer by a benefits company in conjunction with a research partner.
The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based employee benefits company the Unum Group found that Generation Y/Nexters, that fresh-faced group of workers aged 27 or younger, are well organized, technologically sophisticated, collaborative and capable of relating well to older people.
That runs in stark contrast to recent media wisdom that has portrayed this youngest professional generation as a bunch of pampered brats whose parents filled out their job applications and accompanied them on their first job interviews.
The report also found that aging employees working further past traditional retirement ages are creating the first four-generation workforce in history. Rather than finding fault with the Nexters, the report points out that this older workforce is going to place an even greater strain on employees' biggest concern, finding healthcare coverage at an affordable rate.
Long-term care, once thought to be a need of people well beyond retirement age, will become an increasing part of employers' benefits portfolios. In 1989, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 3 percent of private-industry employees of large companies required long-term care. That percentage had jumped by more than 500 percent, to 20 percent, by 2006.
As the massive baby boomer generation heads toward retirement in the next 10 years, expect the pressure on healthcare costs to increase. At the same time, labor shortages currently hitting several industries are expected to worsen.
In 2005, just more than 16 percent of the gross domestic product was spent on healthcare, according to the Unum report. That number is expected to hit 20 percent by 2015 as the hippie generation turns from gray heads to blue hairs.
The study, which also included research from the Society of Human Resource Management, incorporated data from a variety of research outlets and was done in conjunction with the Windsor, Conn.-based marketing and research company LIMRA International.
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October 1, 2007
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