Gen Ys Beyond Their Years

Since returning from the annual Mid America CropLife Asso­cia­tion meeting, I’m thinking about the generational divide. At the event, one of the major topics of discussion centered on Generation Y (born between 1978 and 1995) and how this growing segment of the workforce could shape society forward.

Now, as a member of the Baby Boom­er generation (born between 1946 and 1964), I have an admittedly dim understanding of what makes Generation Y click.

And I’m apparently not alone. Steve Drake, owner of Drake & Co., a cause-related marketing firm, said Baby Boomers tend to think of Generation Y individuals as “feeling entitled, with poor work ethics and lost without technology at their fingertips.” On the flipside, Generation Yers view Baby Boomers as “not tech savvy or fully engaged.”

Of course, generational divides are nothing new. Consider the following: “The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age.”

Think this quote was made by a member of the Greatest Generation talking about Baby Boomers? Actually, it dates back to the 12th century and was made by Peter the Hermit.

Generational divide or not, the nation’s employers need to begin learning more about Generation Y in the workplace because their time is rapidly approaching. According to Drake, this generation currently represents only 12% of the U.S. workforce, vs. 44% for Baby Boomers and 34% for Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1977). However, many Baby Boomers will start retiring between 2012 and 2019, opening the door for succeeding generations to step in.

“Fifty percent of the largest employers will lose 50% of their senior managers within the next five to 10 years,” said Drake. “Boomer retirement will lead to an all-out war for talent.”

With the majority of its managers and company heads as members of the Baby Boom generation, agriculture can also be expected to be impacted by this worker exodus. According to Eric Spell, president of, Generation Y workers are different from their Baby Boomer counterparts in several ways, including wanting to be global collaborators, expecting constant contact with their managers and working to co-create and solve real business issues. “Executing tasks or parts of a system will frustrate them greatly,” said Spell.

Generation Y workers are also different in their views on the workplace itself. With technology, they view work as “from anywhere, not fixed.” Likewise, they tend to “work to live” rather than “live to work” like Baby Boomers. According to Jason Lehnst, project manager for agriculture for Management Recruiters of Iowa City, this means employers need to consider shorter talent-mining time frames.

“Accept that most Generation Y employees will not retire with their current employer,” said Lehnst. “Find the best way to utilize their talent while you have it.”

Leave a Reply

Latest News
HerbicidesBREAKING: EPA Pulls Registration On Dow’s Enlist …
November 25, 2015
EPA on Wednesday withdrew approval of a controversial new weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans, Read More
FertilizerYara Tampa Ammonia Terminal Garners ResponsibleAg Honor…
November 25, 2015
Yara has received its first ResponsibleAg Certification for its Tampa, FL, Ammonia terminal location. This achievement demonstrates Yara’s commitment to Read More
ManagementReviewing The Top Ag Stories For 2015
November 24, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss the most noteworthy events from this past year in agriculture. Read More
EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Sc…
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Radish cover crop
StewardshipCover Crops Guide Helps Growers Improve Water Quality
November 23, 2015
A publication that teaches growers the advantages of using cover crops to improve soil health and crop yields has won Read More
Crop InputsThe Andersons’ Products Receive California Organi…
November 23, 2015
The Plant Nutrient Group of The Andersons, Inc. announced today that its Humic DG and Black Gypsum DG products are Read More
Eric SfiligojNew European Study Seems To Support Glyphosate Safety
November 23, 2015
Looking at any international news over the past few years, it might seem as if the European Union (EU) is Read More
Toggle Biostimulant corn roots
Crop InputsTwo New Biostimulants Added To United Suppliers’ …
November 20, 2015
Winfield US announces the launch of two new products in the United Suppliers portfolio for the 2016 crop season, Optify Read More
StewardshipNRDC Report: Cover Crops Contain Vast Benefits
November 19, 2015
As harvest season ends and farmers in the United States ready themselves for winter, one small change could make a Read More
Fall Harvest
Seed/BiotechArysta Launches New Seed Protectant
November 19, 2015
As spring wheat growers begin planning for a strong start to their season, Arysta LifeScience North America announces RANCONA V Read More
Crop InputsInocucor Receives U.S. Patent For Microbials
November 19, 2015
Inocucor Technologies Inc., the Montreal-based agriculture biotech company, was issued patent No. 9,175,258 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect Read More
ManagementSyngenta Rumors and ARA 2015 Preview
November 19, 2015
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj looks at the latest rumors involving Syngenta selling its crop protection business and talks about events Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Finalists For Operator Of The Year Honor
November 19, 2015
AGCO Corp. has announced the four top operators chosen as finalists for AGCO’s 10th Annual Operator of the Year program, Read More
High Plains Aquifer
StewardshipStudy: High Plains Aquifer Overall Usage In Decline
November 18, 2015
A new Kansas State University study finds that the over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer’s groundwater beyond the aquifer’s recharge Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
FungicidesArysta Launches New Corn And Soybean Fungicide
November 17, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America has recently launched ZOLERA FX Fungicide. The highly systemic, powerful fungicide delivers broad-spectrum disease control with Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance: Microbials Targeted For 250-500 million…
November 17, 2015
Monsanto and Novozymes have announced a new 2025 acreage target that will guide the companies’ microbials business for the next Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Still Being Eyed For China Takeover
November 16, 2015
China National Chemical Corp. approached sovereign wealth funds including China Investment Corp. to help pay for a potential acquisition of Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojCooperative Consolidation Continues
November 16, 2015
As I put this enewsletter column together, we’ve just put the finishing touches on our magazine’s annual CropLife 100 report. Read More