Bridging the gap. Western and Eastern generation Y in corporate world.


This is me, I’m one of millions born between early 1980s and the early 2000. I am the Generation Y.

My parents’ generation remembers times when communism collapsed. When salary was a side issue but the most important thing was that they had a job. The process of learning and gaining experience: that was something extraordinary! that was something WOW! It was completely different to what the previous generation experienced. They could work in same work environment as their colleagues in the West and that they were getting the opportunity to open up for careers in the big global corporations. Quite the contrary to opportunities for Generation Y.

When I first came to India, I was a fresh postgraduate, I had hands on experience gained from my previous organization, I was single, no commitments, no strings attached, just free to decide what and when to do. That was my genuine choice to pursue whatever suits my heart best, rather than the one that is advised from well-wishers. Expecting flexibility in my work, putting (I still do it!) the great value for private time and work-life balance, I was completely sure that absolutely no one and nothing can limit me. Just a typical western world millennial attitude. I know better no matter what attitude.

Then I joined Indian corporation. Not Indian branch corporation in my home country but Indian one in India. And I got a huge culture shock. My Indian age-mates has completely different office culture, aspirations and dreams than the ones I wanted to follow. Although I could fine workwise similarities, many things were completely different.

The reality in Europe – in a nutshell

What makes European millennials different from other generations? Confidence in their uniqueness and high competences, entrepreneurship and self-confidence. As per many reports published on Gen Y, this generation wants to actively decide what it chooses. Millennials are also very flexible – they adapt quickly to new circumstances (i.e. changing work frequently) and very quickly absorb new technologies. But they also have a common sense and critical attitude to the external world.

How India comes in picture here?

Generation YFacts about India

700 million of Millennials in India for whom digital is a way of life. According to the 2013-14 Economic Survey, India will become the youngest country by 2021, with 64% of its population in the working age group of 20-35. Numbers are impressive.

My personal perspective on India

Unfortunately, driving the country to long-term prosperity scenario doesn’t work for thousands of Indian millennials who are trapped by their parents expectations and aspirations. They graduate from universities and make career choices based on what their parents tell them or choose for them. So here, young people either study what they are completely not interested in and follow the same in professional life; or quite the contrary, they get education and then they are not allowed to work at all. Second scenario we can easily find in female child families – where the parents don’t allow the girl to work.

Indian parents want the return on investment they did in bringing up their children. They want them to build successful – as per their understanding – careers in their adult life. The family bonds, respect for elders are very tight in India so young people do not even want to oppose or simply disappoint their parents.

Generation Y

Few things to remember about Indian Generation Y.

  • They work hard

80% of Indian millennials aspire to lead or reach a management position within their organization, according to Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Survey. Long time I have met young people who agree to do extra hours, stretch and extend their working timing. European perspective: sharp 9.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m. does not exist here; the business culture expects young Indians-especially freshers to give more to get more.

  • They’re more into digital work environment as well as working for themselves

IT industry is very attractive for Generation Y. They see it as granted stability and calm retirement perspective. They want to work for an established global business, but on the other hand, many of them have an entrepreneurial soul, 35% already run businesses on the side.

  • They’re ok to travel and move to onsite.

That covers local and global mobility. More Indians are ready to shift to other location in India if the job has better pay, or – what is sometimes the highest aspiration – to work abroad. Around 83% of Indian millennials value the international opportunities, stating this experience is necessary for their careers.

But. To be honest, I feel this young Indian generation is  confused what to do as they got trapped between – how they were raised and what their mind tells them to do. They are definitely traditionalist at heart. Tradition is important to them and they are truly devoted to their language, food, music, dress and religious customs. This generation then is scared more than ever as if they say no to the well-planned-future they will be constantly living with guilt, thinking they did something wrong. I strongly believe that Indian youth need here little more direction and emotional support. I keep my fingers crossed they will balance it wisely.

I would love to hear your comments on this! What is your working as Gen Y experience? Or working with Gen Y people? Thank you very much for reading this article. I am curious if you have/had any experience on millenials in the corporate world? Any comments? – please share your experience. And if you liked the article – share it, click “Like it” and subscribe to my newsletter.