Generation Y is the creative generation

Generation Y

New generations are entering the job market with new perspectives, changed lifestyles and priorities. Demographic change has long since become an important catchphrase for companies too, and the war for talents is becoming visible and noticeable in everyday life for many employers. If you want to make this successful, you have to adapt to the changes and be well positioned for the future.

Because only those who know what makes their own target group tick can also strike the right tone in addressing them in order to attract new employees. And that currently means dealing more with Generation Y. After all, according to data from the Federal Statistical Office, this already made up around a fifth of the workforce in 2015. Thanks to the baby boomers retiring, the trend here is increasing.

Why actually Generation Y?

Generation Y, in short Gen Y, refers to those of us who were born around the 1980s or 1990s, i.e. were teenagers around the turn of the millennium. Therefore, the designation also applies here Millennials. The letter Y, in English "why"Pronounced, stands for the basic attitude that is said to this generation: It is characteristic for them, after the"Why" to ask. The Ypsiloner are largely academically educated and thus belong to the high potentials on the job market. As Digital natives, grown up with the digitization of everyday life, you can safely handle this technology. In the following, you will find out what constitutes Generation Y in detail, why they are also known as "Generation Me“And how you can use the knowledge for your personnel marketing.

Between baby boomers and Generation X & Z - an overview of the generations

From 1922 to the present day, the birth cohorts are divided into five different generations. Of course, not all people of a generation or their attitudes and opinions are the same, but there are characteristics and developments that have particularly shaped and distinguished a generation as a whole.

The “spirit” of a generation is not only reflected in typical clothing styles or music hits. Attitudes towards work are also influenced by social conditions and are reflected in values, life plans and priorities. The boundaries between the years are fluid and are interpreted differently depending on the source.

Traditionalists | 1945 and older: your childhood and youth were overshadowed by the Second World War; they are considered consistent, loyal, and respectful.

Baby boomers | around 40s to 60s: the first post-war generation; she experienced the economic miracle and belongs to the year with the highest number of births. Success through diligence has made her committed and assertive.

Gen X | approx. 60s to 70s: Also called the Golf Generation because of their selfish attitude; was heavily influenced by the economic crisis and an emerging divorce rate. She is said to have a desire for a good work-life balance and security.

Gen Y | 1986 to 1999: Millennials were shaped by the turn of the millennium, the Internet boom and globalization. The first generation, which is characterized by a high level of education. She is described as seeking meaning, she asks why behind her work and wants to realize herself.

Gen Z | after 2000: Also known as Generation YouTube; she has already completely integrated digitization into her everyday life. She is just entering the job market - she is credited with wanting to have fun, be popular and spend a lot of time with family and friends.

How does Gen Y tick?

Many studies and studies have tried to find out what constitutes Generation Y. Whether the Shell youth study, the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) or population surveys such as the Allensbach market and advertising media analysis - not all of them come to the same conclusion. Nevertheless, overarching characteristics and typical behavior can be recorded.

Rules are a thing of the past

There is no such thing as “We have always done it this way!” For members of Generation Y: They are curious, question and are interested in the “why” behind their tasks. Today's 20- to 35-year-olds are said to approach new things and leave familiar paths. Whether same-sex marriage or free access to knowledge - the open worldview of Generation Y also demands openness and transparency from organizations and companies.

Working time becomes lifetime

On the other hand, the need for security has moved into the background, a high income and a permanent contract alone are no longer a reason to choose a job. Instead, work has to fit in with life, you want to feel comfortable at work, and a good work-life balance is also important. Instead of authoritarian leadership, the representatives of Generation Y want professionally competent superiors who give them continuous feedback and a work atmosphere characterized by team spirit.

Own ideas instead of "Scheme F"

In the working world in particular, the fact that Generation Y questions hierarchies and likes to decide for themselves what they do - and what not. She asks about the meaning behind her work, appreciates being able to work independently and make decisions, and attaches importance to being able to act as freely as possible, also in the external conditions of her work, i.e. to be geographically independent and flexible in terms of time.

The trend study “Generation Y: The self-image of tomorrow's managers”, carried out by the Zukunftsinstitut, summarizes that social norms are becoming less and less important for Generation Y. For the world of work this means: “Blind obedience” cannot be expected from Gen Y, but high demands on their own job and its framework conditions can be expected.

What the findings about Generation Y mean for your personnel marketing

Impressive benefits and an attractive salary with many additional benefits and an above-average amount of vacation are good arguments for you as an employer - but by no means everything: For the target group from Generation Y, the rest must also be right. A good work-life balance with flexible time models, mobile working and other freedoms is only the basis for what really matters, what really counts for this target group. These are meaningfulness, self-fulfillment, individuality and a convincing answer to the question of why you should come to work every day.

Recognize and show your individual employer personality

As an employer, you can prepare accordingly here. The first thing to do is to find out what you actually stand for as a company and employer. In the best case, you will get help from an external agency who will get in touch with you and work out your individual employer profile. You can remain authentic and show rough edges - the more employer personality you reveal in personnel marketing, the more likely the applicants will become long-term employees! And the more individual you appear, the more you stand out from your competitors and stand out from the mass of job offers.

Highlight what is convincing

Show the candidates that you value them as early as the application process - for example, by showing in your initial job advertisement why the position is important and what the future position holder can really achieve in your company. Find arguments that convince your target group: Offer a “mission” that gives the job a meaning and be prepared for employees who want to contribute their own ideas instead of just doing routine work. Here, too, it pays to use external professionals who look at the matter from the outside and help to bring the relevant into focus.


It is vital for companies to adapt to the changing labor market, to know and address their target group as precisely as possible. This includes three important steps: In the first, a company must first get to know itself well, in order then to be able to recognize in the next step which aspects are particularly attractive to its own target group. These findings then ultimately have to be packaged appropriately for the target group and played on the applicant market. Personalwerk will be happy to support you as a 360 ° agency in all process phases. Our HR and personnel marketing professionals advise you on topics such as employer branding, employer profile, job advertisements, personnel marketing and are at your side with any questions you may have.