There was a story recently printed in the US about a father who was fired just hours after the birth of his child, for the sole reason that he had taken time off to attend the birth. Maternity and paternity rights for employees are infamously low priority for US businesses, and employees rights have little legal protection. However, the story did not stop there.
After a local newspaper printed his story, the father, who had been working for a private security group, received overwhelming support from the general public. Perhaps as a result of this, he then received numerous job offers – evidently from employers wishing to portray themselves as the understanding kind.
What this appears to represent is how employees have refocused what they seek from their employers. More importantly. it demonstrates how many modern businesses, and perhaps the legislature in the US, are failing to keep in step with the working styles and rewards that the newest generation of workers is seeking.
A recent study found that millennials (those born after the mid-1980s) across the globe appear to have common ground in terms of their workplace goals. The survey found that loyalty and job longevity are no longer expected. Less than half of the respondents expected to have less than five employers during their lifetimes, but over a quarter expected to have over six. It seems that young employees do not expect to receive loyalty from their employer, and do not expect to have to demonstrate any loyalty in return.
The emphasis for millennials was on creating a good work-life balance. They replied that they would be happier with flexible hours than cash bonuses for burning the midnight oil. They criticised outdated and rigid working styles that failed to use technology to allow flexibility in the workplace. Unfortunately, for many of those surveyed, they felt that they had been unable to reach their goal of creating a good work-life balance. These answers were repeated by millennials all over the globe. It seems that whilst millennials have grasped technology and can clearly see the advantages that it provides, employers are repeatedly failing to move on from the nine-to-five (and later) culture.
The responses to the survey suggest that the record levels of self-employment should not come as a surprise, as it can be seen as also being a result of disillusioned young employees demanding something more from their careers but not finding it from employers. For the young father who lost his job in the US but was subsequently flooded with new offers of employment, there is hope that this signals that today’s workplaces are changing to adapt to the demands of today’s working families.
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