Many employers agree there's been a fundamental shift in the American economy that has changed the attitudes of workers and employers. "The truth is that there really is no loyalty...

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Many employers agree there’s been a fundamental shift in the American economy that has changed the attitudes of workers and employers.

“The truth is that there really is no loyalty on either side,” said Pamela Weisberg, executive director of Tomorrow’s Workplace in Spring Valley, N.Y.

And there’s no guarantee that the next generation will do better than the previous one, she said. With a rapid rise in the cost of living and stagnant wages for entry-level positions, today’s young workers aren’t likely to quickly achieve the same standard of living their parents have.

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“Kids [are] staying home longer, they’re not taking as much responsibility as they should, and they don’t feel that work ethic is as important as it was to prior generations,” Weisberg said.

But Susan Rutledge, director of communications at Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Suffern, N.Y., doesn’t buy into the idea that the American work ethic isn’t what it used to be. One difference, she noted, was the number of hours workers are putting in.

“I know nobody who works a 9-to-5 job anymore,” Rutledge said. “I know people that work 50, 60 hours a week, and that’s the norm.”

While acknowledging workplace challenges, Michele Phillips, executive vice president of the Rockland Business Women’s Network, said she is optimistic there are ways to get employees to work toward a common goal.

“Everybody wakes up in the morning [wanting] to do a good job,” Phillips said. “Nobody wakes up and says, ‘I’m going to mess up my life today.’ “