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The 'Y Revolution' in Business

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Apparently, 80% of Gen Y-ers across the world are dissatisfied (or only somewhat satisfied) with the current balance between public and private in the corporate world. Are you surprised?

This statistic comes from a recent study conducted by Mazars, an international consulting firm, and WoMen'Up, an association focused on gender diversity, involving 1011 young people from 64 nationalities. They presented the results of this research, which examined the perspectives of young people on gender equality and business, at the 2012 Women's Economic Forum Global Meeting. (Full disclosure: I am a speaker at the event this week.)

"We believe that what we call Generation Y is more than just an isolated generational effect, it is a culture, a fundamental movement that will intensify with the arrival of the new generation, 'Z'," said Emmanuelle Duez, co-founder of WoMan'Up. Considering that Gen Y will account for 15% of the european population and 40% of the active population in France -- where the Global Forum is being held this year -- by 2015, it may be time for businesses to brace themselves for impact. If the results of this study are at all representative of the feelings of the majority of young people across the globe, a new, growing workforce will soon be stepping up and challenging traditional models within companies.

Here are three points I found particularly interesting from the study. Click here to read more.

1. Gen Y would like their companies to offer continuous learning. Rather than focusing on preparation for a particular job, they prioritize life-long learning, valuing merits and skills rather than diplomas or degrees and the development of what the study calls more "human qualities" -- which I interpret to mean soft skills, like communication and collaboration.

2. Networking is ranked higher than "technical skills" in the tools they think they need for success. Gen Y use social networks in both their private and public lives and expect to use these skills heavily throughout their future careers. The importance they place on technical skills are less tied to their specific job than their general interest in learning and updating their skill set throughout their lives.

3. 77% consider inequalities in the workplace to be a major challenge for companies. Most young people without professional experience had never heard of the "glass ceiling" phenomenon -- but after two years of being in work, this statistic dropped dramatically. Gen Y will pay attention to and communicate the inequalities they see in the workplace.

Do you think that companies should adapt for Gen Y? What multinational brands have been successful at activating and retaining a younger workforce, in your opinion? Share your thoughts and reactions in the comments below.