The digital natives are restless: How Gen Y employees will rip up the CIO job description

Expect new ways of working and of measuring staff value...

The next generation of staff will help to make the workplace a freer, more informed and less controlled place, says Nick Kirkland.

We're at a point now where students coming through from university have never known a world without the internet and computers - in other words, they're digital natives.

Their arrival presents a real challenge for the corporate CIO. Not only does the new generation look at the world differently, they look at technology differently. Consequently, despite conforming to many accepted norms, digital natives will help accelerate the consumerisation of corporate IT.

As this change happens, the role of the CIO is likely to alter, becoming less focused on the technology itself and looking more at governance, control and strategy.

iPad on the tube

The new generation of staff expect to be always-on, and that desire has implications for security and privacyPhoto: Shutterstock

Speaking at the CIO Connect annual conference last month, Katie Bell, marketing director at Middlesex University, presented the findings of interviews with students, using those findings to advise the assembled CIOs on how best to cope with this change.

The younger generation, she argued, multitasks with ease across a variety of platforms, so CIOs must think about how such interaction will affect both the internal workplace and external customer relationships.

This generation has clear technology requirements. They expect to be always-on and that desire can create implications for security and privacy.

But while some view this as a problem, others see the benefits of a generation that arrives at work already able to multitask effectively.

Another speaker at our conference, Ian Sherratt of IT services company SCC, played down concerns associated with consumerisation, arguing that these are not insurmountable issues in most organisations - even though the transformation does present a challenge. He rightly points out that if you want good people to join your organisation, you can't land them in front of a seven-year-old laptop and say, "Collaboration can't happen here."

Device dependency could be a real issue for the CIO who hasn't taken this onboard. Our research has shown that 53 per cent of under-25s check their Facebook status before even getting out of bed. So if these people enter the workplace to find...