The young and the workplace.

Author:Torrado, Santiago

In the war for talent, traditional corporate structures don't attract the new generation. Millennials want more from the workplace, so the companies that are winning them over are the ones that adapt and make their corporate structures flexible.

The arrival of the millennial generation at the workplace is changing the business environment. There is a generational change underway that is affecting the professional expectations of these newcomers, and Latin America is no exception.

A large part of the debate centers on the character traits of the so-called millennials, or Generation Y, which in general terms means those born in, or after 1980, and what they see as attractive in an employer.

"Without getting into a discussion about Generation X, Y or Z, companies have to understand that the labor environment has changed and they have to take action if they want to stay competitive in the war for talent," explained Francisco Paco Ruiz-Maza, from the executive recruiting firm Russell Reynolds Associates. "The motivations, expectations and the way the new generations interact at work are forcing companies to redefine or adapt many of the practices for attracting, retaining and developing talent."

Several generations coexist in today's workplace, but it's the young workers who are pushing for change, and they place a lot of emphasis on their quality of life. The incentives they seek go beyond salary to include things like the opportunity to travel, new experiences and camaraderie among co-workers. In general, studies agree that these types of perks also were important to previous generations, but they weren't so set on them.

We characterize millennials by their technological expertise, which enables them to move in complex social networks, and their propensity to share personal information and their life decisions. Several analyses agree that their bursting into the labor market has brought about, among other things, more transparency and a loss of privacy, unprecedented flexibility in work conditions, and new ways to approach career development. For young people, traditional ideas about organizational stability and many years in a company are largely irrelevant. As well, they demand a meritocracy. They seek to take on responsibility and are not very inclined to wait if conditions don't satisfy them. They are people who ask questions, and who are accustomed, more than ever, to immediate information, thanks to growing up with technology and the...

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