Today's young workers and their bosses have a completely different view of their performance, according to a survey by a local management consultancy.
Employers see 20-somethings as impatient and passive. But their staff use words such as "creative", "proactive" and "flexible" to describe themselves.
Tamty McGill Consultants International polled 2,025 Hongkongers in over three years - 1,154 students and workers born after 1980 and 871 employers - to paint a picture of what it calls "the new generation" in the workplace.
A lack of communication between baby boomers - those born from 1946 to 1964 - and their young staff contributed to the difference in perceptions, managing director Virginia Choi said.
"The employers complained that their young employees seldom initiated conversations with them about work, and thus assumed they were passive. But the young respondents said they were just afraid of losing face in front of their bosses," Choi said, adding that the young staff would rather communicate via e-mail.
This year the poll included young workers on the mainland for the first time and found their career expectations differed from their peers in Hong Kong.
The 254 mainland students polled were looking for a stable job, but their Hong Kong peers preferred posts with a clear path to promotion. Competition for jobs was intense, with nearly seven million students graduating from university on the mainland this summer, Choi said.