Its survey of over 1,000 employees found that Generation Y or Millennial workers are much more likely to see people who don’t work full time as less committed. This is despite the generation’s reputation as more informal and the fact that many will be close to starting families themselves.
Of the 25-34 year olds surveyed, 27.4% said they saw those who worked part-time as less committed, with 31.1% saying the same for those working from home two or more days a week.
“There shouldn’t be an assumption that initiatives to increase flexible working will be welcomed by staff in their 20s and 30s,” said the report. “While those who use them will be keen, there are plenty who will see other people’s flexibility as creating work for them.”
The report urged employers to support managers and colleagues so that flexible working policies are not “undermined by hostile attitudes”. It added that there are new dangers with the extension of flexible working legislation and that favouring mothers may result in discrimination claims from men, while prioritising parents could give rise to age discrimination claims.
Generation Y members are most likely to perceive discrimination in the workforce but also most likely exhibit negative attitudes towards equality. “This presents a difficult dilemma for managers. On the one hand Generation Y are characterised as needing to be treated with kid gloves. On the other they are the very people whose attitudes make them likely to object to, and perhaps even thwart, initiatives to get the most out of older workers, working mums and home workers.”
The report added that Generation Y workers are now moving through the ranks and may be managers or the public face of a business, meaning negative attitudes in these areas could expose the organisation to risk of discrimination claims.