Gen Y managers still have a lot to learn

As this generation moves up the ranks, they're not getting high marks. A survey finds them entitled and difficult.

By Aimee Picchi Sep 5, 2013 11:58AM

Credit: © Tom Merton/OJO+/Getty Images
Caption: Two businesspeople in an office with a laptopIf you've got a Generation Y manager who's rubbing you the wrong way, you're not alone.

The group is described as entitled and difficult to work with, according to a new survey of younger workers from Ernst & Young. Unfortunately, Generation Y, people born roughly from the early 1980s to the early 2000s, are just starting their climb into the managerial ranks. 

Gen Y also scored lower than other generations in being considered as team players and hard workers.

Both Gen Y and its older cohort, the Gen Xers, are moving into management at a fast clip, the survey found. Eighty-seven percent of the Gen Y managers Ernst & Young surveyed moved into their management roles between 2008 and 2013. For Gen X managers, that rate was 38%, while only 19% of baby boomer managers moved into those roles during the period. 

One problem for Gen Y might be simply lack of experience, EY Americas inclusiveness officer Karyn Twaronite told CNBC. But older managers should also be seeking to help Gen Y improve their management skills, she added. 

"Only 5% said Gen Y was prepared to lead," she said.

So who comes off as the best managers? Members of Gen X. 

Once called slackers, this cohort may have been a victim of mislabeling, given the survey's finding that the group ranked highest with positive perceptions of their management skills. Well-known Gen X leaders include Yahoo (YHOO) chief executive Marissa Mayer and Google (GOOG) co-founder Sergey Brin. 

Eighty percent of respondents picked Gen X as the group best able to manage in today's economy. Members of this generation were also most cited as being problem solvers, collaborators and adaptable, but they did fall down when it came to "executive presence," the study found.

As for boomers in management roles, they were perceived as the best generation to manage in challenging times but trailed Gen X for displaying leadership. 

Not everything was negative for Gen Y managers, though. The survey found they were excellent at being inclusive leaders, tapping a diverse group of workers to tackle projects. Gen Y also ranked high for tech and social media abilities. 

The good news for Gen X and boomer workers is that your Gen Y manager will help you deal with Twitter's quirks. But the bad news is that she'll feel entitled about it.

More on moneyNOW

Sep 5, 2013 1:02PM

Gen X experienced the transition from paper to digital.  WE know how to do things both ways.  IF you acted up in school, you got the paddle with the holes drilled in it (for better aerodynamics).  Gen Y kids would get time out.  When Gen X got in trouble at school, we did not want to tell our parents because the beating we got at home was usually much more than we got at school, while the Gen Y parents would sue the school for calling their little Johnny a bad boy.  Gen X car seats were mother's lap as babies, and the flattened out back of the station wagon after we could walk.  When riding a bike, the only thing between a Gen X's skull and the ground when they fell was their hair.    Gen Y kids did not keep score on the baseball field because then some of the kids would feel bad when they would, gasp, lose.  Oh, and everybody got a trophy.


No wonder they all feel so special.  It didn't matter what you did, there were no punishments or rewards.  Everybody was special.

Sep 5, 2013 12:29PM
The missing keyword is-- useless. We have a generation that didn't pay attention in school mainly due to overwhelming distractions. Gen X learned fractionally and Gen Y learned less than that. The real question is-- why are they in management roles? My kids say these people are morons so caught up in texting and social agenda that they are grossly dysfunctional. After we force-close business platforms once QE is capped, these people will literally die standing there wondering where the next hand-out is.
Sep 5, 2013 1:40PM
three cheers for broad generalizations.
Sep 5, 2013 12:26PM
"Entitled".  "Lack of experience".  "Difficult to work with".  "Not prepared to lead".  "Lack of executive presence".  "Doesn't display leadership".

Forget about Gen Y managers, you've just described Obama.

Sep 5, 2013 1:11PM

I also feel...Psychotherapist are going to have a few banter years ahead of them...


When these NEWER Generations (the latters) realize, there really are WINNERS and LOSERS..

And everything is not going to go their way, eventually.



Sep 5, 2013 12:42PM
That's the mentality that liberals have instilled in our children through indoctrination via the school system.
Sep 5, 2013 2:04PM
Only boomers and Gen Xer's should be in management lead postions. Y'ers are too young...something along the lines of give a boy a man's job.
Sep 5, 2013 12:31PM

"Forget about Gen Y managers, you've just described Obama."


Today he is confronting Putin... a man with a million times his experience, prowess and capacity to win. We are so screwed...

Sep 5, 2013 1:32PM
MR.R;The red states are the ones getting the most welfare and food stamps.
Sep 5, 2013 3:51PM
I just hope that Gen Y managers can read this article and see it more as constructive criticism than an insult.  I'm a Generation X person and I agree with what I read.  Gen Y definitely knows the tech and Baby Boomers have the experience.  One reason why Generation X scores so high is because we know that and try to put the right people in the right role to play things out.  One thing I like about Gen Y is their lack of race perception and stereo types;  they've grown up in an accepting world where no one is limited by what they are.  One thing I like about Baby Boomers is that no matter how bad we think we have it, they've had it worse and then some.  One thing I like about us (Gen X) is that we were there for Grundge music and 90s rap that had a message and an MTV that played videos and had 1 reality show.  Shall I continue?
Sep 5, 2013 1:45PM

Dennis.....Re-Tired Old Guy.....Not geezer....Those are in Yellowstone, I think.

Not Lazy....

Worked in Garden last night and this morning...

Made my breakfast, washed dishes...

Fed snacks to and talked to our animals..

Got to help mow grass and weed whack....Takes about 2 days.

Need to trim trees, and put some stain on back porch...Maybe a little, on parts of deck.

Was going to golf today, started to leave, and had no money; Can't find key to safe.

Miss Lilly went to City, get supplies, pet food, booze for me and more money.

Might want to go to Casino tonight..?

Am self directed investor...Come here for a past-time, and humor between other duties..

Now I have to go pick Sweet Corn....To put up along with tomatoes; Put up peppers yesterday.


Get off my Lawn....Just old and bored...yuk, yuk. 

Sep 5, 2013 2:47PM
The liberals have done a swell job of score - no losers, no grades -  no failures, no morals - no guilt, blame others - no sense of responsibility, bad decisions - no consequences, ....and always vote to have someone else pay your way.
Sep 5, 2013 4:17PM
Also, one more thing. Generation's Y and X are arrogant pricks that don't care for workers over 40.
Sep 5, 2013 1:55PM
DLH2448:You stole that line from Fox didn`t you?Is it fun being a Fox news zombie?
Sep 5, 2013 4:15PM
There just like every generation of white collar worker before them. They think they are entitled to 6 figure salaries while us blue collar working stiffs get nothing. Blue collar workers are the backbone of this country.
Sep 6, 2013 2:32PM
Best manager I've ever had worked right beside his employees, had an unbelievably positive attitude, always offered constructive suggestions, never berated anyone (but would coax those with problems), and was totally unpretentious. After working there almost 3 months (this was in the early 1970's), I said to him one day that he should be the boss; to my great surprise, he replied he owned the company! 
Sep 5, 2013 1:05PM
Confronting Putin, would be like confronting a Gen Y'er....Once KGB, always KGB.
Sep 5, 2013 5:00PM
Dennis....Tried to post something about your Crabgrass won't post try again tomorrow.
Sep 5, 2013 2:23PM

TAXPAYER 1:If you believe all those lies of yours I want to see you the Golden Gate bridge.

Is it fun being a Fox news zombie?

Sep 5, 2013 1:02PM
You must be a Gen Y'er...Meck (someone?)....or just a "slacker" period.
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