I don’t read business sections terribly closely, but this item from the NYT caught my eye this morning. It’s about the attitudes of workers in their 20s and 30s — their attitudes toward their employers, that is. A taste:
These younger workers are often viewed as demanding, self-absorbed and presumptuous, but also as ambitious, free-thinking and eager to learn. They form “a dramatically different labor market that is changing not just the way people are hired and fired, but also how they view their jobs, their employers and their careers,” … Because of an unsettled economy and an employment market that has not been kind to these workers, they think there is no reward for loyalty and are reluctant to make long-term commitments. Though they have been called disloyal and unwilling to pay their dues, the reality is that they are adapting to a workplace in which “corporations broke the old arrangement unilaterally…They’ve seen what’s gone on with their parents’ generation, and a lack of trust in the corporation is a perfectly rational response to that.”
I remember, at one point in the last few years, thinking that eventually the bean-counters — who were able to put a price on what their employees were worth down to the damn penny, and calculate so neatly how much they could afford to lose if they raised the cost of health care while lowering the cost-of-living raises — would have to finally put a price on what the rest of it would end up costing. In other words, they’d have to face the music and realize that while they were slashing costs to make the quarterly numbers, they were breeding a culture of distrust and indifference in their own work force.
Looks like that’s finally happened.