Generational Differences in Technology Use Prompts Companies to Reassess Workplace Practices, New CompTIA Study Reveals

Jul 30, 2013, 09:30 ET from CompTIA

ORLANDO, Fla., July 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Generation Y workers, more astute in their technology skills than any prior age group, are forcing employers to re-evaluate how they hire, train and equip current and future workforces, according to new research released today by CompTIA, the non-profit association for the information technology (IT) industry.


The new study, Generational Research on Technology and its Impact in the Workplace, was unveiled today at CompTIA ChannelCon 2013, the premier education and partnering event for the IT channel,

"In the next five to ten years Gen Y will completely dominate the workforce the way that Baby Boomers once did," Todd Thibodeaux, president and chief executive officer, CompTIA, said in his ChannelCon keynote speech.

"Generation Y has been raised in technology and they consider their aptitude for tech as a value that they bring to the table when seeking a job."

Two-thirds of Gen Y respondents assessed their own technology skills as "cutting edge" or "upper tier."

Similarly, Gen Y's expectations for tech in the workplace are quite high.

"An employer's tech 'savvy-ness' is very high on their checklist on whether to take a job or not," Thibodeaux noted

Roughly half of survey respondents described their employer as either "cutting edge" or in the "upper tier" in their use of technology. Slightly less (42 percent) put their companies somewhere in the middle of the adoption curve.

Three-quarters of Gen Y workers used a smart phone for work purposes in the last year compared with 37 percent of Baby Boomers. Other devices more prevalent among younger workers include tablets, laptops and GPS systems. Gen Y also considers social media a work tool, while Baby Boomers see it as more of a personal tool.

"Factors like these may require employers to adapt to Gen Y's expectations," Thibodeaux remarked.

Adapting to a younger workforce will likely extend into the areas of training. E-learning is especially appealing to Gen Y workers, who want to be autonomous in how they choose to interact with technology, deciding their own pace and not being forced to interrupt normal workflow for training.

This hands-on attitude also impacts technical support in the workplace.

"They often will try to troubleshoot the problem first on their own end want to brainstorm together with the IT staff," Thibodeaux noted of Gen Y workers. "That's different than older workers who want to hand off problem and get it back when it's finished."

Data for the study is based on a May 2013 online survey of 700 respondents from different age groups and generational cohorts in a variety of industries. The full report is available at no cost to CompTIA members. Visit or contact for details.

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