Generation iY (Kids of Today)

Generation iY

Generation iY, a term to categorise the kids of today born after 1990, is created by Dr. Tim Elmore, an expert on millenial and Generation Y. Millennial is a term to describe young adults born from the early 80s through to the turn of the millennium, collectively known as “Generation Y”. We call the much younger members of this generation “Generation iY” because they grew up influenced by the “i” word – for example: internet, iTunes, iPhones, iPad.

The kids of today

The kids of today are digital natives who have been exposed to today’s technology since the day they were born. Hence, they face much more distractions compared to the previous generations, making it hard for them to stay engaged. Despite all their distractions, these kids really do desire to change the world; they just don’t have what it takes to accomplish their lofty dreams, Elmore writes. “When the work becomes difficult, they change their minds and move on to something else”. Additionally, Elmore argues that we need to change the way we interact with them, so that they can grow into adulthood and be the leaders they need to be as they are ‘slactivists’, a new term for both slackers and activists.

So now, we will be summarising the common characteristics of the Generation iY to help you understand them better.

1. Expressive.

These young adults are very expressive about their feelings and opinions, whether it be physical or online, they just want to be heard. Ever since young, it is very common for them to have their say on how they want things to be done. Thus, many of them often could not stand doing something they dislike or have no interest in. For example, when being told to perform a task they dread, they will tend to argue their way out of it instead of listening obediently. Other than that, they will more motivated or driven working in a job that they are passionate in. Some would even rather work in a low paying job that fits their passion and strength rather than some high paying job.

Such mindset can be very disadvantageous since it could hinder their chance from landing a suitable high paying job that requires them to start from the bottom of the ladder initially. Therefore, unlike the previous generation, their sense of urgency to start earning money and support themselves right after graduation is not present as they would rather explore and wait for the right job.

2. Authenticity.

Similar to their expressive nature, they are also very straightforward with who they want to surround themselves with. They demand authenticity and will tend to steer away from someone that is putting on a facade. They value genuine people and leaders and that is why it is very important for them to have a mentor to guide them in life. Without a proper guidance, these young people who mostly spend their time with their peers only can get lost and drift into a lifestyle that is unsustainable in the real world.

3. Fun Generation.

It is essential for Generation iY to have fun in everything they do. They even believe that working and having fun go hand in hand and is inseparable. Despite such mindset, they do have the ability to multitask and manage several projects until their attention span break. Growing up in a digital world where they can entertain themselves endlessly with just a click of a button, these young people are prone to distractions and have a hard time focusing on mundane tasks.

However, this trait might be a blessing in disguise as they will constantly seek challenges in order to make their work more interesting. Hence, it is easier to reach out to these Gens with more coaching and emphasis on the reason and value of their task.

4. Meaningful Tasks.

Another trait that is prevalent among them is that they want to do things that matter. They can be very ambitious and desire projects that are big and almost impossible to do. Rather than a high paying job, many would rather do more meaningful work that could make a difference in their surroundings and give back to the community. The mindset of Generation iY can be very complicated as on one end they could be self-absorbed and want to do things their way but on the other end they feel obligated to make a difference in the world. Therefore, it is good to fit in some charity work in their schedule once in a while to maintain their motivation and satisfaction.

5. Constant Appraisal

The Generation iY are used to getting constant feedback for their actions. Whether it be at home or in school, they are constantly being praised in order to boost their self-esteem. They might even get rewarded for just participating in competitions.

Even though praising their efforts can be good sometimes, it could also delude them from the reality in the future. This is because not only will it dilute the value of achievements, but it could also make them crave for compliments for completing ordinary tasks. Especially in the real world where there really are “winners” and “losers”, the generation who grew up with a “everybody wins” mentality will need to face a harsh reality when their boss does not reward them for participating,

6. Interconnected

The last and most obvious point, they live in a very interconnected where technology is an extension of their bodies. Having to live one day without their gadgets is something that is unimaginable today. This habit is not necessarily undesirable as they constantly innovate for ways to complete their tasks and challenge past practices. They are the generation that will redefine technology and the way they are being implemented in our daily life. Communication using technology is one clear example. Communicating using email, something that is unfathomable just several years ago is already considered an outdated method of communication. The current generation are very invested in their mobile devices. They use them to send messages and makes phone calls daily, constantly communicating with their friends and family. Therefore, we should embrace and adapt to the never-ending improvement in technology to effectively connect with the newer generations.

4S to help Generation iY remain engaged:

As mentioned earlier, Generation iY were raised in a digital world with a lot of distractions surrounding them. At times it might be hard to work with them or get them to complete a task efficiently. Refer to the 4S below for methods to maintain their attention.

  • Speed – activities with a reasonable duration; not too long, not too short.
  • Screen – activities that use technology
  • Stipulations – clear rules so kids know their limits
  • Stimulation – activities that are creative enough to stimulate their interest


Overall, it is not an uncommon sight to see the kids of today behaving differently compared to the previous generations. With the continuous improvements in technology, their daily life and standard of living also gets better, making it more difficult for them to go through hardships. However, just like any studies or research, there are bound to be inaccuracies and we should not assume that the kids of today are all the same as there also those that is hardworking and down to earth.


ELMORE, D. T., 2011. Gen iY: They Want Meaning, Money, Influence – and to Work With Friends. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 14 12 2019].

Elmore, T., 2013. Employers: Ready or Not, Here Comes Generation iY. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 14 12 2019].

McKinney, M., 2011. 5 Leadership Lessons: Tim Elmore’s Generation iY. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 12 2019].

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