Another week, another piece of insight on perhaps the most researched generation of all, Gen Y.

But this time PwC’s Next Gen study is one which really stands out for the right reasons.

That’s not just because with 44,000 interviewees, a clear definition of Gen Y (someone born 1980 and 1995) and a research partnership London Business School and the University of South Caroline, it has a weightier feel than some of the much of the research into this age group.

No, what is fascinating about the report is – as it says in its own words – that “explodes the myth” that Gen Y-ers are oh-so-different from us older folk (by that I mean over the age of 35) or non-millennials as PwC calls them.

In fact the report finds that they are just as committed to work as the rest of us; that despite being at ease with social and digital communication they place just as much value on face-to-face and social elements of work and management; what’s more they don’t have the  extreme aversion to work-life imbalance that many other studies assert.

Indeed, as you look through the figures around attitudes to reward, pay and career progression it is hard to find the dramatic insights which have marked Gen Y out as being the different breed identified widely in previous studies.

There are still, I think, two important messages for organisations in this report.

The first is that it isn’t just a new generation of young workers is developing different attitudes to work which need our attention, it is that technology, the broken concept of the job for life and ultimately, longer working lives and many other factors have changed attitudes and expectations in work across all generations. It is important we gather insight on what these are if we are to successfully get the most of these people.

The second is that where there are differences between employees, they are likely to be more subtle and less defined by age than we have led to believe – after all age is not the main thing that drives our view of the world, it is life experience. We need to be careful to understand these differences and not assume that one size fits all, even when it comes to dealing with what looks like a homogenous workplace demographic.

In bringing a new perspective to a debate which has been driven increasingly by questionable findings from throwaway surveys this is a timely thoughtful report from PwC on the issue of Gen Y and one which any practitioner in HR or reward will benefit from reading.

Andy Philpott is sales and marketing director for Edenred –

Twitter – @andy_philpott

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