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Published: Thursday, 12/1/2011

Millennials rate poorly in survey on work ethic

20-somethings called short on responsibility


CHARLOTTE -- Co-workers of 20-somethings are less than amazed with the younger generation's work ethic, according to a poll released this week.

The poll of 637 working Americans was conducted on behalf of Workplace Options, a Raleigh consulting firm. The results showed that 77 percent believe members of the millennial generation have a different attitude toward workplace responsibility than other age groups. Millennials are primarily people born in the 1980s and early 1990s, who started coming of age around the new millennium.

Furthermore, 68 percent of respondents said they think millennial workers are less motivated to take on responsibility and produce quality work, and 46 percent said they think millennials are less engaged at work than others.

Bill Crigger, president of Charlotte-based Compass Career Management Solutions, said he hears of such conflicts when talking to human resources professionals.

"Part of it is just how fast technology and workplaces are changing," said Mr. Crigger, 62. "Anytime there's a large influx of people into the workforce, it changes."

Many conflicts, he said, originate because of differing attitudes about corporate cultures. Older workers expected to climb a career ladder, he said, but that is not necessarily true of the younger workers.

"They've been raised under the tech gurus, the whole 'anyone can do this in a garage' mind-set," he explained.

Respondents in the millennial generation didn't grade themselves much better, the poll found. Fifty-four percent said peers in their age group are less motivated to take on responsibility, and 34 percent said millennial workers are less engaged than their counterparts.

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