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HR Conference, October 2016
Ph.D. Tatjana Mamula
By 2020, the share of Serbian Y generation among working population will be 48%, according to the estimates of the Republic Statistical Office. In addition to the Y-generation, generations of Baby Boomers as well as the X and soon Z generations are also working. The development of information technology leads to faster development of generations, and each generation represents the specifics of their period. The generation gap is becoming more noticeable in the work environment since generations differ in their values, motivation, leadership style, communication style and in other aspects. What are the characteristics of Serbian Millennials regarding their attitude toward career, the ideal job, motivation and skills which they apply on a daily basis will be presented in this paper, as a result of the research conducted on this generation representative sample in Serbia, in May 2016.
The generation gap exists since the beginning of time. However, employers are increasingly concerned about how to manage such different generation groups whose views differ more than ever before. Put yourself in a situation that, as an employer, a member of generation X has to say to employees who are members of generation Y: “The company has secured a huge long-term project. We will work overtime and one day of the weekend in the next three months.” How and what to communicate so that at the end you have a win win situation?
Put yourself in a position that as an employee and a member of generation Y, you need to tell your employer who is a representative of generation X: “I’m going on vacation for 3 weeks and I will be mainly in areas outside the range of mobile telephony and limited access to the Internet. I’m going on a journey, Bolivia, Peru and Chile, where my friend from master studies lives and works.” How and what to communicate so that at the end you have a win win situation?
A recent survey by Ernst & Young, in which opinions of American experts from each of these generation groups were collected, led to significant and unexpected results. Generation of people born between 1946 and 1964, post-war baby boom generation (baby boomers) are not lagging behind in work despite their age, what is more, they are considered dedicated and productive workers. Employees, members of generation X, who are expected to fight for the leadership positions, are considered the best team players in the business. Opinions on youth from generation Y or “Millenials” are less surprising: they are very good at technical jobs but they are also professionally cruel and somewhat work lazy.  Today, most company representatives from all three generations are able to work together on a daily basis and cooperate. Soon they will be joined by representatives of the upcoming generation Z (born between year 2000-2010).
Other sources state that the generation X‟s priority is independence and individualism, while generation Y‟s is co-operation and team play. How best to reconcile these differences and achieve maximum impact? To work on the solutions, we must first locate potential painful spots and bottlenecks. The most important is to familiarize oneself with members of these generations. From many sources we can discover why Millenials are demanding, ambitious, educated, they do not respect authority, they are proficient with IT, they want everything, now and immediately. The whole generation it is attributed the same broad set of features. It is important to understand the conditions in which they evolved and gained first experiences. 
When they find themselves in the role of managers, members of generation Y are very different from managers who belong to previous generations. They prefer informal feedback and a more casual work environment. The very title „manager‟, as in the case of leaders, is not so important to them. What they find important is to have more autonomy, free time or get recognition for their work. Growing up in a world where nothing has been promised not guaranteed, taught that their skills they must acquire themselves, but also that they themselves seek ways to do so, They are very aware of the problems facing the world in which they live, but also very optimistic in their wish to make changes and make a better, more loyal to themselves, but also the team, and not to the structure of the organization because young leaders are the ones who will lead the world in the future.  While experts invest a lot of energy and time to understand how to manage the generation Y, they actually do not realize that this generation learned to lead itself. 
Today, every third employee in the world belongs to that generation, and from 2020 will constitute for more than half of the working age population. The fact that they have excellent knowledge and use technology enables them to work much faster and more productively than older colleagues. They also have a better approach to problems, practical solutions, and clearly defined goals. Since the Y generation is a leader in the labor market all the more visible are changes in the world of business and work environment.
What motivates me (would motivate me) and discourages (would discourage me) in the workplace?
Although it is cited that important motivators are good relationships and the possibility of personal development and training, less than a third of Serbian Millenials would leave the company in which they currently work due to poor interpersonal relationships or lack of possibility for personal development and training. If we compare the motivators for work in a company with demotivating conditions it can lead to the abandonment of the workplace – we can conclude that good human relations and the possibility of personal development and training more impact on satisfaction than dissatisfaction of employees. Thus, two of the three Serbian Millenials would leave the company in which they currently work for better job opportunities, and almost as many of them due to poor financial conditions, which indicates that the inability of good earnings is the most important reason for the fluctuations.
What is valued among employers today?
Serbian Millenials believe that some of the most sought-after skills in employees are commitment to the job (69%), work efficiency (52%), literacy (46%), problem solving skills (44%) and teamwork (40%). Dedication and responsibility, as well as emotional and social intelligence are the skills that women see more than men as the most wanted in the 21st century, while men think its professional integrity. More than half believe that companies most value employees who are involved and highly productive workers, indicating a perception of demanding performance parameters and professional investment by employers to their employees. In addition, four out of ten Serbian Millenials recognize that the skills needed for teamwork is a requirement of employers. As an ideal job they prefer to work in a large company (42%) are indifferent to whether they work in local or foreign company (34%), and between the public and private prefer to select state-owned company (48%). Furthermore, 56% see as an ideal job setting up their own companies, fixed working hours (49%) and work in a company for a long time (65%). Of course, not all Millenials are equal in their habits, thinking and behavior in the workplace. Through innovative statistical analysis are shown in Diagram 5
Millenials wish for complete and successful careers. The motivators for the Millenials which have an influence on their work are: a high salary, the possibility of training and improvement, interpersonal relationships, job security, a good balance of work and private life. If some of the motivators are not met, people will look for a better business opportunity. As necessary skills for the effective performance at work are: dedication, computer literacy, teamwork, loyalty to the employer, academic knowledge of the profession. Most respondents considered that they possess all the skills necessary for job efficiently. Part of the young people, faced with increasing competition in the labor market, realize that personal development is extremely important, they turn to informal forms of training, visiting various seminars and trainings when they get an opportunity, use the programs for professional training and volunteering, even when there is no financial gain. They realize that this, other forms of profit are actually much more important, because it sets them apart from the rest of the labor market and prepares them for the uncertain future. As generation Y are increasingly given managerial positions, not only will the “team values” come to light, but will also impact on the community priorities for organizations to become visible. The role of the leader Y generation in comparison to other generations in the workplace is very important, how to share and transfer their knowledge and skills, and the constant feedback, the feedback necessary for complex projects and situations. Keeping everything in mind, we can say that this is a generation that shares most of the values of previous generations, but unlike them, are prepared to express their needs and wishes stronger and louder.
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