Do we really know the Millennials?

July 8, 2016    Ann Clarke     ,

No doubt you’ve already heard that Millennials will make up half of the world’s workforce by 2015. This blog is focused on this group, those born between 1980 and 1994, many times, highlighting the new set of expectations and requirements that this new transient generation expect from their careers, employers and workspaces. But a recent article by The Guardian has thrown into question everything we think we know.

Many of the academic papers and research studies of generational expectations have shown Millennials to be high achievers, hungry for career progression and responsibility. But The Guardian’s article suggests that Millennials have more focus on finding a job that makes them happy than one that pays well, particularly in an economy where job security and financial stability are no longer deemed certain.

Similarly, Millennials’ alternative work ethic (the idea of integrating work and life together seamlessly) has seen them described as lazy or unmotivated. However The Guardian suggests it is Millennials’ inert confidence that allows them to say no to jobs or tasks that compromise their ethics (something that rates highly on their list of employment values) and which has earned them this title unfairly.

One of the other traits that have been attached to Millennials is ‘job hopper’ -something that a Deloitte study still bares out, with two out of every three Millennial hoping to move to a different job by 2020. However the article identifies this as typical of anyone in their 20s and not unique to Millennials at all. A comparison of 20-something Americans revealed these expectations were just as present in the 1980s as today.

The workplace has never been so diverse with different cultures and ages, more women and a wider variety of working styles such as part time and working remotely all existing together. Our lives also follow a much less linear pattern with education, work and personal time all overlapping on a daily basis. Businesses now have a much more varied workforce with completing different sets of wants, needs and expectations.

Regardless of which generation we belong to or whether our ideas of Millennials are wholly inaccurate or bang on the money, one thing remains the same. The successful businesses of today and tomorrow need happy, motivated, loyal and support employees. Understanding the workforce, in all its guises, will go a long way to creating a business full of the best talent and the most motivated efficient and productive team yet.

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