Cash is king for younger workers with Generation Y employees more focused on salary, bonuses and annual leave than any other workplace benefit, according to exclusive research by Personnel Today magazine.
The study of 265 Gen Y teenagers and young adults found that salary/bonuses and holiday entitlement were rated as two of the most important factors in a job.
Gen Y-ers are traditionally thought to care less about pay, and more about flexible working, travel opportunities and corporate social responsibility. But now the study by Personnel Today, conducted by market research organisation Ipsos MORI, has blown those assumptions out of the water.
Holiday entitlement was rated by 87 percent of respondents as the most important factor in a job, followed by recognition for good work (86 percent) and salary/bonus (85 percent). 'Working for a good name on your CV' was cited by 69 percent, ahead of flexible working (68 percent), pension (55 percent), sabbaticals (24 percent) and international travel (19 percent).
When asked what they thought the most important employee benefit would be for them in five to 10 years' time, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of Gen Y-ers said pay. The next most important benefit to them was learning and development, cited by just 10 percent. Furthermore, an overwhelming 85 percent said they would prefer their employer to offer cash as an incentive to boost performance, with other incentives such as gift vouchers or travel experiences barely registering on their radar.
Many Gen Y-ers believe they are too young to start thinking about a pension. Just one in five said a pension was 'very important' to them in a job, with only 55 percent agreeing that it was important to save for their retirement.
But despite their obsession with cash, it does seem that Gen Y is at least blessed with a sense of realism. About two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) said they expected to be earning 26,000-50,000 pounds in 10 years' time. Just 3 percent expected to be earning between 70,000 and 100,000 pounds and only a super-optimistic 1 percent thought their pay would top six figures.
Dawn Spalding, group editor of Personnel Today, said: 'Our research highlights a real need for employers to rethink the way they recruit, retain and manage younger workers.
'Employers need to be flexible in the benefits they offer Gen Y, and what they offer to them as their careers progress. When Gen Y workers join an organisation they will be interested in paying off debts and perhaps getting a foot on the property ladder, but as time progresses then childcare benefits and flexible working might become more important.'
Commenting on the survey, Karen Wisdom, research director at Ipsos MORI, said: 'Although at face value it is rather disappointing to confirm that the needs of Generation Y are dominated by monetary factors, this is not entirely surprising, particularly given their career stage and the level of student debt these days.
'In our work, we tend to find that a hierarchy of needs applies to younger people in job seeking or switching, and it is common to find that basic needs such as compensation and benefits are naturally prioritised over other factors. The findings also demonstrate the importance of strong employer branding, as a key point of differentiation.'