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Gen Y vs. Gen X: Who Causes More IT Headaches?

By Kristin Burnham
April 5, 2011 03:30 PM ET

CIO - You've heard the Gen Y stereotypes before: They're lazy workers, exude entitlement and have been reared on social technologies that they bring into the workplace, whether IT departments like it or not.

A new Forrester Research report sheds light on the latter issue, finding that Gen Y workers actually are not much different than Gen Xers or in some cases, even Baby Boomers, when it comes to their views on technology. Businesses should consider and rely more on this Gen Y group of employees when implementing policies and technologies, Forrester advises.

Take, for example, this statistic: Among the first wave of Gen Y'ers that graduated college in 2001 or 2002, 52 percent have been in their current role between three and 10 years, according to the report. Twenty-seven percent of Gen Y'ers are now managers or executives in businesses.

This means that Gen Y is-and is increasingly becoming-an experienced group of workers-who understand how their companies operate and how to thrive in the business. They are also likely to be influencers in the development and implementation of technology policies, according to the report.

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"[Content and collaboration] pros creating collaboration and technology strategies for their employees must set policy based on facts not stereotypes," writes report author and Forrester analyst TJ Keitt. "Thus, it's important to gauge the actual attitudes of Gen Yers toward the IT department and its policies to understand what Gen Yers are actually doing with technology."

Here are Forrester's findings on Gen Y's attitudes toward IT-some of which may be surprising-and its suggestions for effectively working with that generation.

-Gen Y believes their technology is better than your technology. There's a disconnect between Gen Y and the rest of the workplace when it comes to which technologies are better, the report says.

Thirty-one percent of Gen Y says they believe their technology at home is better than the technology they have at work, according to the report. Twenty-three percent of Gen X agrees, but the big difference is apparent in Boomers: Only 17 percent believe their technology is better than the tech in the workplace.

-Despite this, Gen Y is no more likely than Gen X to bring the tech to work. While IT departments frequently fret about the dangers that Gen Y'ers bring to the business by using outside technologies within the workplace, the reality is that they're not the only ones to blame, the report says.

While Gen Y'ers top the list with 44 percent admitting to installing software on the computer they use for work, Gen X follows close behind at 42 percent. Following that are Boomers at 36 percent, according to the study. Additionally, more than 40 percent of each generation group admit to accessing online services like Google Docs for work purposes.

Originally published on www.cio.com. Click here to read the original story.
This story is reprinted from CIO.com, an online resource for information executives. Story Copyright CXO Media Inc., 2012. All rights reserved.
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