What Does Gen Y Want in the Workforce?

Daily inspiration and advice for the ambitious savvy young professional
What Does Gen Y Want in the Workforce?  blog image

What Does Gen Y Want in the Workforce?

Written by InternQueen.com Campus Programs Manager, Shayna Dunitz


Yesterday Lauren moderated an awesome Think Tank discussion about Gen Y in the workforce, hosted by Dell at their super cool #DellVenue in Lower Manhattan. This meeting of the minds included input from other entrepreneurs, employers, recruiters and even students! If you were unable to catch the live stream, here’s a brief recap for you. I highly recommend you also take the time to watch the video from the discussion as it was engaging, thought-provoking and funny! Check it out here.


The purpose of the Think Tank was to initiate what we all hope will be an ongoing dialogue about Gen Y in the workforce -- not only between recruiters and employers -- but with students and the universities they’re attending as well. Lauren kicked off the discussion by asking how universities can better prepare students for the “real world,” and received a variety of answers such as teaching the art of research, introducing learning objectives for for-credit internships, and bridging the gap between the classroom and the real world. One of the rockstar students on our panel, Opal from Pace University, said that universities need to have a strong social media presence so students can see how social media can be utilized professionally.


The panel also talked about some of the skills that an ideal entry-level candidate should have, including analytics and strong written communication; as well as soft skills like learning how to communicate with different types of people, flexibility and openness to continued learning. A resounding theme was that Gen Y also needs to learn how to communicate with their boss via email and text -- “Hey, dude, it’s finished!” is not okay… ever!


The next topic covered what Gen Y was looking for the workplace, and there was a lot of discussion about work/life balance, and what that means for Gen Y. Millennials want options for how they work and where they work. John from Major League Hacking said that the conversation might be less about finding a work/life balance and more about finding a place where that blurred line doesn’t matter. Another hot topic was what Lauren calls the “busy contest” and learning that “busy isn’t cool,” as Daniel from Global Grind stated that he recently quit a lot of his commitments and encouraged Gen Y to learn to quit.


Dell’s Gen Y Think Tank came to a close with each panelists’ advice for Gen Y entering the workforce:


@jonmarkgo, Co-Founder of Major League Hacking: “The internet is a platform unlike anything else… be able to showcase your passion and your expertise.”

@RakiaReynolds, Founder of Skai Blue Media: “Hone in on what your competitive advantage is… know how to articulate it.”

@OpalVadhan, Senior at Pace University: “Dream big. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.”

@NatalieZfat, Co-Founder of The Social Co.: “Make yourself invaluable.”

@InternQueen, Lauren Berger, CEO & Founder of InternQueen.com: “Be open to advice, and open to feedback, and always seek feedback.”

@ChristinaO_Dell, University Relations Program Manager at Dell: “Do as much research on the company and company culture as much as possible.”

@EvaWrites, Sophomore at Harvard University: “Incorporate social good into as much as you can.”

@JillJacinto, Associate Director of Editorial & Communications for WORKS: “Make your passion shine through… go after the things you’re afraid of because that’s where your passion lies.”

@ItsDLeon, Chief of Staff to Michael Skolnik: “Be real about your expectations.”

@SarahLuden, Global Education Communications at Dell: “Focus on experiences and building relationships, and networks.”


Lastly, Eva from Harvard said that the thing Gen Y wants most is for their voices to be heard… so let’s hear it! What are you looking for in the workforce? What do you think your university can do to prepare you? Keep this important dialogue open in the comments below!