Employers advised on how to engage disenfranchised younger workers after the riots

While unemployment and lack of opportunities for young people are cited as some of the societal reasons behind last week’s riots, it has also emerged that younger generations feel disenfranchised in the workplace.

Claire McCartney, an adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said that the economic climate has left many young people dissatisfied at work.

The CIPD’s latest Employee Outlook survey showed that employees aged between 18 and 24 are the least satisfied with their jobs.

McCartney said: “The worrying things about the riots are that it was not even just Generation Y. It was younger than that with 11-year-olds taking part.

“We would observe from some of the research that is coming through to the CIPD that the younger generations are finding it more difficult to get into work in the first place.

“We have noticed that the younger people in work are the most dissatisfied, which supports the [argument] that people are feeling disenfranchised in the workplace. There is less movement within organisations, there are [fewer] promotions and there is less development.

“[Younger employees] are on lower wages, so if they have pay freezes they are going to be feeling the brunt of that. Also, they are potentially having to do more work when there are less people.”

Employers are advised to engage Generation Y employees by talking to them about their future aspirations and moving them across functions to vary their experience if there is no scope for promotion or pay rise. Young employees, who are likely to be savvy, could make the most of their skills by taking part in reverse mentoring schemes.

Some of these issues will be addressed at Employee Benefits Live 2011 in the session Are your Generation Y employees disenfranchised?, presented by Emma Blaney, group HR director at Informa, and Martin Self, flexible benefits project director at BP on 28 September.

For more articles on motivating younger employees