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Graduate retention affected by 'mismatch of expectations' between generations

A global survey of graduates and their managers has uncovered a culture gap between the age groups which may be having serious implications for employee retention and succession planning.

The research, carried out by Ashridge Business School, found that managers considered so-called 'Generation Y' graduates (those aged under 30) to be very confident, technologically savvy, knowledgeable and unconventional. On the less positive side, they said they disliked Generation Y's desire for fame, tendency for self-centeredness and overconfidence, and lack of respect.

There were some mixed messages from graduates too. On one hand, they wanted to progress quickly with speedy promotion to management. On the other, they didn't want the responsibilities that a manager's job demands, that lifestyle nor the heavy workload.

Graduates were found to be content to explore different jobs and wouldn't hesitate to move on if they felt a job wasn't meeting their ideals or expectations. The survey found that 57 per cent of UK graduates intended to remain in their current role for only two years.

The employee retention issue was the biggest concern for managers in relation to graduates. They worried that the frequent changing of jobs and meandering career paths would leave the managers of the future without the depth of experience required for leadership.

Another common worry was that Generation Y workers didn't have the 'life skills' of their forebears. Many felt that they needed more work experience to improve their emotional intelligence and people skills. Managers were concerned that failure to address these deficiencies threatened the 'talent pipeline'.

Acas offers Skills for supervisors training and dedicated courses on Staff retention, both of which are aimed at getting the best from employees while keeping them engaged and interested in their work and organisation.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.

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