Kids these days. Am I right or am I right?

For many adults (i.e., parents) that is all that needs to be said to generate sympathetic nods. But for those without an older teen or younger twentysomething living at home, I should probably elaborate: When it comes to work, kids these days have expectations that are . . . unrealistic. Consider some findings from a recent survey of 22-26 year-old recent graduates with a four-year degree who are entering today’s workforce.

Dubbed this year as Generation “I,” these grads have a secure understanding of who they are and what they want – and they aren’t willing to compromise. This survey uncovers why for today’s graduates it seems to be “all about them,” why they are so keen to jump around – jobs, where their live – and what’s really behind their drive and desire for frequent change.

[ . . .]

  • Recent grads expect a lot from a job yet a majority (58 percent) think their expectations are either low or just right.
  • Generation “I” wants what they want and they may not be willing to settle for less. When given a list of 15 job search-related factors (e.g., good company culture, prestige in the industry, benefits, etc.), more than half of recent grads said they expect to receive a majority of them once hired. Good health benefits (74 percent), job security (73 percent) and opportunities for growth and development (68 percent) top the list of expectations.

Reality check for recent grads: Unless you’re planning to join the U.S. Army, you aren’t likely to get good health benefits and job security and opportunities for growth and development. If you get two of the three, consider yourself blessed.

  • Grads also expect to have the opportunity to stay connected to their personal network while at work. Nearly two in five (38 percent) recent grads would not take a job they were otherwise interested in if they were not allowed to engage in certain activities, such as taking/making personal phone calls (23 percent) or checking personal emails (20 percent).

For most of us old geezers (i.e., those of us born before 1990), the idea that a young whippersnapper would turn down a job if they could not text their friends is infuriating. But the reality is that for most of these kids, they have never not been connected 24/7. For many young people, having to be out of contact with their social network for a full 8 hour period is a significant hardship. I blame us parents. Maybe if we had slapped the cell phones out of their hands every once in awhile they wouldn’t be that way.

The most interesting part of the survey, though, is the finding that parents will go to great lengths to help their kids find work. Nearly a third (30 percent) of recent graduates report that their parents are in some way involved in their job search process. Nearly one in 10 (8 percent) recent graduates say that a parent has accompanied them to a job interview, with 3 percent of grads saying their parents have actually joined the interview itself.

As the parent of a 19-year-old daughter who is looking for a new job, my initial reaction on hearing that was, “Wait, what? We can do that?” Not only would I be willing to sit in on the interview, I’d gladly answer the questions for her since she’d probably be too busy texting and checking Facebook.