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Survey Reveals that Technological Satisfaction Affected by Age Group

March 06, 2014

A recent study conducted by BT Global Services and Avaya found that the age and personality of employees was strongly tied to their satisfaction with available workplace technologies.

The companies surveyed over 500 IT managers and business executives, which were categorized into three age groups: generation Y (under age 35), generation X (aged 35-50), and baby boomers (aged 50+). Dissatisfaction with workplace technologies manifested markedly in generation Y, in which 62 percent of respondents reported being frustrated with the technology they use in the workplace.

Spirits of the older employees appeared to be lighter. Only 38 percent of generation X employees and 42 percent of baby boomers said they were dissatisfied with their own workplace technologies. Combined, these two age ranges show a strikingly different level of contentedness than respondents in the generation Y category. However, the levels of dissatisfaction between the two older age groups place them at nearly the same level.

Because there is such a large divide between the younger and two older generations, one can make a number of assumptions about the role of technology in employees lives and how their life experiences may have shaped their expectations. For instance, the youngest generation of employees grew up with technologies similar to modern mobile devices like cell phones, tablets, and advanced laptop computers. Employees in the older generations did not have such gadgets in the developing years of their lives. Therefore, it may be fair to say that generation Y employees' dissatisfaction stems at least partly from their expectations that workplace technologies be more flexible and cater more to their needs as individuals.

Additional figures from the BT and Avaya research study support this analysis. The research states that, overall, 62 percent of employees want communications technologies to suit their personalities. The Wall Street Transcript (TWST) notes that introverts may desire instant feedback from video conferencing, telephone, and texting software and devices. In contrast, extroverted employees may favor email, instant messaging, and conference calls.

The research also points to the degree at which technology may be ingrained in employees' lives. The study concludes that 68 percent of generation Y employees feel that better collaboration software will help them be more productive at work, compared to just 54 percent of generation X and 52 percent of baby boomers.

Generation Y grew up with more of a reliance on technology and with the expectation that it will be there to assist them. When the technology does not fit their needs and personalities, that expectation may be jostled, leading to dissatisfaction and a desire for change. The study notes that 60 percent of all respondents expect their businesses to grow this year and that 78 percent suggest that better communications tools were essential to that growth.

Although BT and Avaya only surveyed executives and managers, it is reasonable to believe that this trend of dissatisfaction is pervasive throughout the ranks. Managers will need to respond to this situation by implementing technological solutions that cater to all individuals by allowing employees to choose mediums of communication that suit them best.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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