Generation Y believe in a sense of entitlement.
The young adults of today want it all but are not prepared to work for it, a new study suggests. Those who were born into “Generation Y” have an over-inflated sense of entitlement lack the work ethic to achieve their goals.
They also hate being criticised, it is claimed.
Researchers believe that the problem stems from being constantly told from birth they are special and as a result now believe it – and will ignore anybody who says otherwise.
But far from making them happy their approach to life leads to higher levels of depression and “chronic diasppointment” as unjustified levels of self-esteem masks the ugly reality.
Academics have concluded the values drummed into their grandparents, such as a strong work ethic and self-sacrifice, have been lost in the relentless quest for self-fulfilment.
“Generation Y” or Gen-Yers refers to those born between the 1980s and 90s who are now in their 20s or approaching their 30s.
They are also known as the “Millennium generation” or the “Boomerang generation” because they keep moving back home with their parents in young adulthood due to financial or commitment issues.
They are marked by dependence on technology, delaying of adulthood, a casual approach to life and placing a higher value on self-fulfilment than previous generations.
Members have long complained they have been unfairly characterised as lazy but the new research appears to prove that the stereotype is actually true.
Professor Paul Harvey, of the University of Hampshire, carried out a series of studies measuring psychological entitlement and narcissism on a group of Gen -Yers and found they scored 25 per cent higher than respondents ages 40 to 60 and 50 per cent higher than those over 61.
In addition, Gen-Yers were twice as likely to rank in the top 20 per cent in their level of entitlement — the “highly entitled range” — as someone between 40 and 60, and four times more likely than a pensioner.
Professor Harvey concluded Gen-Yers are characterised by a “very inflated sense of self” that leads to “unrealistic expectations” and, ultimately, “chronic disappointment”.
He explained that the 20-somethings of today have ‘an automatic, knee-jerk reaction to criticism,’ and just dismiss it.
“Even if they fail miserably at a job, they still think they’re great at it,” he said.
Professor Harvey said the sense of entitlement ‘gets ingrained in the formative years.’ ‘It stems from the self-esteem movement, telling kids, “You’re great, you’re special,’’ he said.
He added that the ultimate irony is that such an approach to life leads to higher levels of depression because unjustified level of self-esteem masks the ugly reality.
A separate study due to be published in the Journal of Management showed those in Generation Y care most about high salaries and lots of leisure time – two apparently incompatible goals.
A research team from Kennesaw State University, in Georgia, examined data from an ongoing study of high school students conducted annually since 1975 by the University of Michigan.
Both workers in Generation X, the one which came before Generation Y, and Gen Yers want to earn a lot but the former show greater awareness a hefty salary comes through hard work.
“They want everything,” said Stacy Campbell, an assistant professor of management at Kennesaw.
“They want the time off. They want the big bucks. The findings really support the idea that they’re entitled.”