With labour shortages looming on the horizon, how can employers attract and keep a new generation of employees? Benefits Canada’s survey of Canadian 30-year-olds finds out.

Not only was 1977 the year Benefits Canada began publishing, it was also the year in which the first members of Generation Y were born. With baby boomers on the verge of retiring in droves, Generation Y is going to be a much sought-after source of skilled labour. With that in mind, Benefits Canada conducted a survey of 500 30-year-olds from across Canada to find out what exactly employers will have to do to attract them and keep them happy and engaged.

Also known as echo boomers or millennials, Generation Y is the generation of the iPod, MySpace and YouTube. As such, they’ve gained a reputation for being selfcentred, restless and short-sighted.

But the numbers tell a somewhat different story. Most 30-year-olds yearn for the type of work life their grandparents had. Given the choice, they’d rather work for one organization their entire career than for multiple employers. And spending time with family ranks significantly higher on their priority list than career advancement or world travel.

They also have an eye on the long term. They’ve already begun planning and saving for retirement. And they’d opt for a guaranteed retirement income and retiree health benefits over the ability to choose how their retirement assets are invested or how their benefits dollars are spent.

With talent in short supply and labour shortages looming, employers would be wise to get to know the wants and needs of the next generation.

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© Copyright 2007 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the June 2007 edition of BENEFITS CANADA magazine.