Although for now in Argentina they only occupy 25% of management positions, they stopped being the “newcomers” to companies long ago. The millennials, or generation Y, that demanded horizontality, flexibility, closeness and accompaniment in their development to those who were their bosses, do they hold those values now that they are part of the leadership in the companies?
The answer, according to specialists, is “enough”. Although, beyond generational merits, the changes towards more open styles of leadership and much more supported in the so-called “soft skills”, accompany changes of all kinds in the economy and the labor market. And this generation had to embody them.
Although there is no agreement in the academic literature about when each generation begins and ends, for the purposes of this note the Y will be understood as the one born between 1980 and 2000. It is also worth clarifying that allocate homogeneous characteristics to an entire generation it is a generalization that leaves out fundamental factors, such as socioeconomic differences. That is why, when speaking of millennials, the “ways of being” of young people who have access to higher education and professional work are usually described.
A large part of this generation joined the labor market at the turn of the millennium, and today many of them are between 30 and 39 years old and have already advanced in their career. The study “The careers of millennials: vision 2020” of Manpower-Group ensures that next year this generation (which they count up to those born in 1996) will represent 35% of the global workforce. It will be even with the generation X ratio and there will be few baby boomers (6%). The new ones will be the Z (which this study recognizes as those born as of 1997), with 24%.
According to a survey of PageGroup, a consultancy specializing in executive recruitment, still 75% of searches for medium and high management positions are covered by professionals other than millennials. However, the millennials that access these positions are well valued: in a survey of 4,000 employees in the private sector, 83% considered their relationship with the bosses Y to be very good or good. 15% saw it as regular and only 3% as bad.
“The reality is that the organizations adapted to a certain flattening of the structure and had to evolve. And many management profiles, regardless of the generation, were evolving to this more collaborative leadership style, “says Martín Gerding, senior manager of PageGrupo.
“The leaders of this generation know that their place is not guaranteed, that you have to earn it. It’s like an election with ballotage: a boss is first elected by the organization, but the second round is when the team decides that the boss will be their leader, “says Verónica Carabajal, director of the consultancy Ocho Trazos, specialized in innovation in human Resources. According to the expert, millennials “are clearly aware that they are not there simply to exercise power, but to inspire and motivate things to happen,” he adds.
Carabajal worked for 20 years in Unilever HR, where, together with Melina Cao and Carolina Levin, director of HR and leader of consumer insight, respectively, they developed an investigation about generation Y. The results of that work were reflected in the book Less respect that I am your boss.
Can these new bosses really sustain horizontal workspaces? “It depends on how you define horizontality,” says Cao. “It is not a space where everyone is equal: the boss makes the performance evaluation, decides a salary increase, changes the objectives”, exemplifies. Therefore, it is not a question of ignoring these responsibilities but rather of “how daily life is managed”, he adds.
According to the authors, the millennial leaders do comply with the precept of being very close to their teams: “close to solve tasks, with free access to their offices and allowing the personal link,” they describe. “In the day to day work is not only talked about, but the proximity implies that I know you, I know about your life, you know about mine.