Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Milennials are more selfish about work travel... so?

I'm not going to waste your time on my defense of my generation - these pieces says it all. And also, I think inter-generational bickering is the stuff of sitcoms, and is just too petty for real life. I like my parents, and their parents, and my friends' kids. So there.

So when I came across this survey the other day, I just chuckled. The results of Expedia's market demographic research into business travelers, it found that millennial professionals (versus their older counterparts) are "freer with their company’s money," "more likely to voice their displeasure," and "feel that they should be personally entitled to travel reward points."

Initially, I read these as insults (which may say something about the way in which millennials are usually discussed, that my hackles went up so quickly). But upon reflection, I actually thoroughly support the idea that business travelers should feel comfortable having their company financially support their travel, as well as give them personal rewards points for travel. Honestly, even among those in my peer group who are employed (which is definitely a specific subsection these days), there isn't much feeling of corporate loyalty. Anecdotally, I feel comfortable saying that most of us fear for our jobs, so it doesn't surprise me if there is a feeling of "well, let's get what we can while we're here."

And I don't think that's particularly unethical, or even selfish. Traveling for work is exhausting, and often leads to working more hours than usual (the survey says that across all ages, between 24-45% of people say they work fewer hours, leaving the other 55-76% working the same or more hours). And compensation hasn't remotely kept pace with productivity, so in-kind compensation makes total sense. When a company makes an explicit request for increased productivity, and the worker is unable to make an explicit request for increased compensation, the worker may implicitly take that "raise" in increased benefits while performing the increased workload.

Logic, to me.

Given that this was a global survey, I'm hesitant to read too much into it, since generational culture is a very malleable thing across borders. But I'm very interested in what you think, dear readers.

How has the culture of work travel changed? Submit your thoughts in a comment below, or find me on Twitter!

(image via, under Creative Commons attribution license)

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