Crucially, the report also comes with a stark warning for the characteristically optimistic ‘Generation Y’ (those born after 1980) – discussions in the qualitative phase of the research suggested that one of the biggest issues facing British business over the next ten years could be the ‘inevitable’ disillusionment that will hit these youngest members of the workforce as they start to reach their thirties.
Sonia Abrahams, senior research consultant at Opinion Leader, one of the companies that carried out the research, comments: “The common prediction associated with Generation Y is that it is using developments in technology and new forms of communication to change working cultures forever, meaning we will see companies working in new ways and offering employees new flexibility in how they choose to define their working day.
“Our research showed that this young cohort is indeed highly ambitious and wants to succeed in a shorter time span than ever. But with these new, higher expectations comes the risk of greater disappointment. The findings from our cross-generational workshops demonstrate clearly that these predictions do not take account of a feeling of mid-career depression brought on by the pressures of the family-life stage. This consensus did not come only from those currently in their early thirties, but also from those more contented workers in their forties, fifties and sixties who have emerged on the other side. By most, it is seen as inevitable.”
The Vodafone UK Working Nation series of reports, now in its fifth year, is a major ongoing study created and conceived by Vodafone UK that chronicles the attitudes and trends that shape the United Kingdom at work. The series is used by Vodafone UK to examine its own working practices, help develop new products and services and to create a better understanding of the modern management and workplace issues impacting its customers day-to-day and in the future.
This volume, entitled ‘The Nature of Work’, explores the true meaning of work in 2008 from the perspective of all different ages, including teenagers about to enter work as well as recent retirees. The report is for the benefit of employees that want to understand more about their role and their ambitions; and for managers who are faced with a shifting landscape of employee expectations and motivations.