Profiling the Generation Y cohort
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Generational differences are relevant as they reflect differences in attitudes, values, ambitions and mind-sets between people. A generational cohort refers to the aggregate progeny of the preceding generation and parents of the next generation, born within a specified range of years, who go through the different stages of life together and whose values, attitudes and preferences are influenced by shared defining events and trends during their formative years that give rise to a generational consciousness and a process of social change. There are currently four identified generations in existence, namely the Silent generation (Silents), Baby Boomers (Boomers), Generation X (X-ers) and Generation Y. The Generation Y cohort is defined as individuals born between 1986 and 2005. The major force recognised to have shaped members of the Generation Y cohort is that they grew up in the connectivity of the digital age and in the era of global 24/7 television networks, which has provided them with instant exposure to global events and trends. The result of this has been a melding of cultures across the world, an ever-increasing global village effect and the emergence of a globalised Generation Y cohort. This inaugural lecture includes a discussion of the conceptualisation of generational theory and the emergence of an increasingly globalised Generation Y cohort, an outline of the factors that have shaped the Generation Y cohort and their consequent characteristics, with particular reference to the South African Generation Y cohort.