How many times have you heard this: "Today’s young people are lazy and entitled . . . They expect everything to be handed to them without having to work for it . . . they cop an attitude with their elders . . . and they spend all of their...
How many times have you heard this: “Today’s young people are lazy and entitled . . . They expect everything to be handed to them without having to work for it . . . they cop an attitude with their elders . . . and they spend all of their time on their phones or tablets!” Complaints about the attitudes of the young have a long pedigree. “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words…When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint.” These are Hesiod’s words from the 8th Century BC, and you can slip them into any opinion piece or article about today’s so-called entitled generation.
It’s easy to complain about today’s generation and the difficulties of hiring a qualified young technician; it’s harder to realize that the problem comes down to how we hire and manage today’s employees. Murray Voth’s newest TACT column tackles that issue head-on and deserves careful reading.
Automotive consultant Rui Martins touched upon a similar theme during his remarks at the recent AIA Service Providers Forum. He pointed out that the processes used to match people to jobs are broken. Owners and managers too often reduce the hiring process to one of filling a job with a warm body. Rarely do owners and managers carefully match the job’s requirements with the skill sets of the potential applicant. When hired, employers will often never challenge the new employee, give them meaningful work or will make them do menial tasks for months or even years. The argument is that the new employee has to “pay their dues” or the new employee is given the mantra, “I spent my first years sweeping the floor before I was ever allowed to look at a car. Suck it up.”
Is it any wonder that many highly qualified employees leave? Martins put it best: Today’s young professionals do not want to perform menial tasks which they perceive to be inferior to their qualifications. They have little tolerance for employers who will not use their skill sets and refuse to offer a challenging work environment which will reward them for their efforts in growing the business. They don’t want to be placeholders, filling a job that leads nowhere; or to be treated poorly and told it is “paying their dues.” Look at the backlash against unpaid internships. The trend in the last twenty years has been to use unpaid interns as a pool for free labour. Interns have dangled before them the carrot of a possible job. The reality is there is no carrot. I know of several highly qualified and skilled persons who have gone through up to half a dozen or more non-paying internships resulting only in continuing unemployment. In the end, all decided to leave their chosen professions, fed up with how they have been treated.
We should not be making the same mistakes with our qualified young technicians.