Gen Ys – are they all that?

by in Agency Life, Recruitment, Uncategorized

Millenials and Gen Ys, the Digital generation, all fancy names for those born from the early 80s through to the start of the 2000s.

I have come to realise I’m getting old now, when our youngest apprentice was born, I was setting up Wave. I’m not far away from saying “I was running this business before you were even born”! I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing to say or not. But we will leave that for now. With age comes wisdom and experience so they say. Well amongst the receding hairline, the wrinkles, and the inability to exercise without hobbling around the following day, we have to have something going for us don’t we? Anyway, much as I’d love to create a blog all about me, that’s not it’s purpose.

It’s actually about the Gen Y’s. So much written, so much said, some good, some bad. But having recently joined the forward thinking companies that are investing in apprentices, I’m writing about my experience of them so far first hand. A few months in the planning and we’re underway with our Apprenticeship programme. And very exciting it is too.

Joining the company, the apprentices work in each of the departments in the business, from Client Services, Sales, Studio, and Digital they will work their way around the agency over the course of the next year. After experiencing what we do as a business and how we work they will settle into one department with a view to securing a permanent role at the end of the term. My motivation for doing this was to start moulding the next generation of Wavers, future leaders and managers. Ambitious I know, but I think it’s the best way to secure the long term future of the agency. (Seeing as I’m getting old ;-))

Lily, one of the apprentices, learning all about profile photography

Lily, one of the apprentices, learning all about photography

Being honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have to say I’ve been surprised – in a good way. They come in for a bit of negative press with their so called sense of entitlement and narcissism, but so far from what I’ve seen this generation will do us alright. Firstly, they have confidence, more than what I had, and not too much to make them cocky and arrogant. That’s good, cocky and arrogant doesn’t go down well at Wave. Secondly, and as part of their selection process we asked them to produce a presentation, not mentioning some of their powerpoint skills will put many of us to shame, the ability to present clearly and articulately was equally impressive. For those who will listen, I am often sharing my first pitch experience where I could literally hear my heart beating out of my mouth stuttering and stammering in every breath, not these guys, they moved and glided around their presentation with ease and calm.

But that was selection I hear you exclaim, surely the real work is different – well yes, but no less impressive. Sure they have a lot to learn, but learn they do, they listen, and put into practice what we’re saying. Not always getting it right – but that’s all part of learning, and as long as they’re trying that’s what matters to me. You could say that they have a lot to learn from us elders, but I’m coming to realise that we have a lot to learn from them too.

Future leaders? I think the future of the agency is in good hands.