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35-year-old CEO says hard-working millennials are ‘few and far between’

Pictured: millennials at work, John Winning. Images: Twitter (WinningJohn), Getty
This CEO has criticised millennials as being entitled. Images: Twitter (WinningJohn), Getty

The fourth generation boss of appliance company, Winning Group, has described young Australians as having a poor ethic, describing hard workers as “few and far between”.

John Winning said young Australians are “expecting more than what they put in”, in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Some of the people coming in for interviews, their expectation of what they should be paid versus how much they're expected to work is just crazy.

"You train them up and by the time they've finished the two-month training, they're either looking for the next thing or asking for a promotion or more money,” the 35-year-old said.

A millennial himself, Winning said he thinks of hustling as “rolling your sleeves up” and working from early in the morning to late at night.

“They see hustling as a get-rich-quick scheme or another easy solution."

In an interview with CEO Magazine, Winning said he became “addicted to hard work” when he worked in door-to-door sales, as he was paid 100 per cent commission. But this career ended when he was attacked by a dog and ended up in hospital.

His father John Winning, who was CEO of Winning Group before him, presented him with two options: find another job within a week or join the family business, which now turns over $650 million a year.

“I am now an unconventional leader because I don’t know what normal management is. I was thrown in the deep end because the business just grew. I went from being a kid that had done truck deliveries and a few sales on the shop floor, into suddenly running an e-commerce website when I knew nothing about technology, management or even retail, other than the fact that it’s in my blood,” Winning said.

Instagram ‘damaging’ society

Winning said he was also concerned that Instagram was “damaging” society and leading people to live beyond their means.

“I think the world's living in this desperation of wanting more, and that's getting people into a lot of trouble," Winning said.

"People expect they should be able to spend all this money on eating out because they see all their friends on social media eating out breakfast, lunch and dinner, having these great lives and going to Europe every Australian winter.”

But, he warned, there’s a lot of debt caused by overblown lifestyles. “The world has to go through another huge correction.”

Not the first boss to complain about millennials

The general manager at Muffin Break, Natalie Brennan, was criticised earlier this year after slamming young Australians as entitled and having an “inflated view of their self-importance”.

“I’m generalising, but it definitely feels like this generation of 20-somethings has to be rewarded even if it’s the most mundane, boring thing, they want to be rewarded for doing their job constantly,” complained Brennan.

“There’s just nobody walking in my door asking for an internship, work experience or unpaid work, nobody.”

But Brennan’s words were swiftly mocked online, with Australians blasting her as being out of touch.

As of March this year, more than one-in-10 young people aged between 15 and 24 were unemployed, more than twice the country’s overall unemployment rate.

“Young people come out of education and training with high hopes and aspirations for independence. It’s devastating that despite 28 years of continuous economic growth, too many young Australians are locked out of the prosperity dividend,” said the executive director of the Brotherhood of St Lawrence, Conny Lenneberg, noting that young Australians in regional Australia face extra barriers.

She also said “more sophistication” was required when addressing the challenges young Australians face.

“Many young people are doing it tough.”

‘Job snob’ research called out

Research released by the government in August claimed employers were “screaming out” for workers, but picky job-seekers weren’t lining up for work.

That research reported 45 per cent of employers had trouble recruiting in 2018, with job-seekers poor presentation skills and applications a problem. It also said applicants were approaching the interview too casually and dressed inappropriately.

However, documents released to Labor under freedom of information, and reported by The Guardian in October showed that while the research included 14,000 companies, only 29 were interviewed for the figures reporting inappropriate and uninterested applicants.

“This is more damning evidence that minister Cash continues to mislead, misrepresent and misuse data about Australians trying to get a job,” Labor’s employment spokesman, Brendan O’Connor, said.

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