Young People Are Not Loyal – Jerry Luftman – A Rebuttal

Professor Jerry Luftman of Stevens Institute of Technology wrote in his lecture presentation (slides 81- 83), that new grads lack loyalty. 45% of all workers want to change jobs at least every three to five years, and a whopping 34% of all employees stay with their current employer for less than 1 year. And the blame is therefore shifted on the young grads. When I first saw this, I became very angry.

All relationships, including business relationships, are two-way streets. The employee needs to “put in his time,” but an employer needs to learn how to appreciate ones efforts. Young employees are generally perceived to be inexperienced and therefore immediately expendable. As a result, they can be taken advantage of. They can be asked to work longer hours for less pay, and they will most likely say “yes” since they need the experience. And, if the employee speaks up, he’s in danger of being fired since the mantra with dealing with young employees apparently is “hire fast, fire faster.”

However, this is not a healthy attitude. True, young employees come with inexperience and in most cases, immaturity. Nonetheless, one can only work for little pay and longer hours for so long. If such an employee sees a better job offer that doesn’t look like slave labor, who wouldn’t take that?

An employer needs to look at an employee as not only an asset, but as a human being to nurture into a position. With new employees, NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT MONEY, even in business. Viewing that employees are robots that don’t need to be treated humanely is standoff-ish and immature, in my humble opinion. Employers barking orders, threatening to fire if a differing opinion is stated, is not healthy and would naturally tempt one to look elsewhere for greener pastures. Also, paying an employee extra money in order to motivate him more may produce better revenue results than paying young people close to minimum wage.

However, I’ve found that the “hire fast, fire faster” mantra is overly used, especially in small businesses. My personal experience as a new graduate from University was that more employers saw me as a young kid (I’ve until recently always looked a lot younger than my age dictated, and in a society where requiring that one posts ones age on a resume is illegal, this poses a problem) with little experience that was not only expendable, but could be taken advantage of. I would be asked to perform tasks that in certain instances were logistically impossible, be talked down upon, and in some cases, was outright fired. I HATED each moment of loss and felt myself dying a little more inside with each experience.  I’ve even quit a couple of employers, not having faith in them, partially in retaliation for past employers not having faith in me. Whether that was fair or not is irrelevant at this point.

From my experience, young people are looking to learn and grow with a new company they seek as a second family. I’d say that the employers are even less loyal as they see young people to be expendable.

It works both ways. Dr. Luftman, do not tempt me. If you can publish this info then I can certainly publish this blog post!

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