Why Gen Y Bosses Are Catching Flack

Libby Kane

gen y managersPoor millennials. They can’t catch a break. It seems like every discussion about this age group points a finger at their privilege or their lack of likability.

This time around, it comes in the form of survey results from global firm EY, the parent company of Ernst & Young LLP, which found that Generation Y managers are perceived as entitled and sub-par team players at work.

The company surveyed 1,200 workers across the U.S. to find out the perceived strengths and weaknesses of managers from Gen Y, Gen X and the Baby Boomer generation. Gen X (which the survey defines as people aged 33 to 48) came out on top, while Gen Y (ages 18 to 32) received the lowest scores, perhaps unsurprisingly.

Still, the report also found that more members of Gen Y seem to be making career strides. Some 87% of Gen Y managers said that they took on new responsibilities in the last five years. Although, it appears that Gen Y’s ladder-climbing isn’t going over very well: 68% of Gen Y workers are perceived as being entitled and primarily concerned with their own promotions. This is compared to the 70% of Gen X workers whom people believe are strong managers.

RELATED: 6 Generational Stereotypes to Bust on Your Job Hunt

As for Baby Boomers, they’re thought of as being productive and hardworking team players. (But they do have a rap for not being as flexible as younger workers.)

CNBC theorizes that Gen Y’s managerial shortcomings may have more to do with inexperience than anything else. And, despite their low scores in some key areas, members of Gen Y did earn a few glowing reviews for being enthusiastic, tech-savvy, adaptable, ambitious and skilled at building diverse, effective teams.

  • Nina

    It may also have to do with jealousy. Who wants to report to a 25 year old manager at the age of 40?

    • Fiona

      I don’t think that’s the problem so much. Gen Y has some distinct characteristics that create problems in the work force. Any intro level marketing class will point out that Gen Y grew up with a lot of “things” and with workaholic parents that weren’t necessarily happy with all the time they dedicated to their jobs at the expense of their families and personal happiness. Gen Y cares a lot about their compensation and personal time and benefits and doesn’t particularly want to fit in as a cog in the machine, but that machine has been built to need cogs. You can see the problem, I’m sure. It doesn’t mean Gen Y is lazy or bad, it just means their values are non-traditional compared to the two immediately preceding it. The system isn’t built for them and it will take time for it to sort itself out.

  • redheadednomad

    What privileges? Inheriting a broken economy with massive unemployment levels, largely thanks to the “greed is good” ethos of the Boomers?

    Er, Thanks…