Who are actually Millennials? The perspective of a Millennium

Serengeti

Careers

10.07.2019.

featured image

The term "Millennials" refers to the generation born in the period between the early 1980s and the 2000s. There is no unambiguous definition of the Millennium generation. According to some, the generation begins in the late 1970s and ends in the mid-1990s, while others believe that millennials and people were born in the early 2000s. As the next generation of famous „Generation X“, they are named „Generation Y“ but the term "Millennials" become a more popular name. The name itself appeared in the 80s as a term that will mark the first generation of people who will mature in the new millennium.

From the psychological research point of view, it is always interesting to consider different generations of people who grew up in different conditions and historical events. Our attitudes, opinions, habits, and preferences are partially shaped by growing up in a certain period of history. Probably, statements like "In my time it was better, people were different." have part of their roots out of these generational differences.

Brief overview of generations.PNG
Figure 1. A brief overview of generations (born from the early '20s to the end of the 20th century)

For a long time, most of the people in the world belonged to the generation of "baby boomers". However, young millenniums slowly assume the main word in the world, already making about 35% of the workforce. What does this information mean to us? It is important to know what the majority of people think and want because they are the ones who work, vote, and spend money. In other words, they set new standards and impact on important decisions that concern all of us. Think how much do they affect on which companies are going to ruin and which will grow, does it make sense to run ads on TV or Instagram, will home office remain a benefit or become a job standard?

Predicted proportion of generations in population
Figure 2. The predicted proportion of each generation in the total population

Unlike its predecessors, millennials grew up in the era of the fastest technological changes, with the increasing presence of the Internet and the emergence of social networks. Still, we remember the sound of Internet dialing and the tremendous frustration when someone from a household chooses to use a phone. Within a couple of years, we have moved to the time where we are concerned when someone doesn't respond on WhatsApp message within a few seconds. Through social networks, we are sharing our lives with those we know, but sometimes with those who are unknown to us. Likes and shares are a new KPI's and we can find every information in a matter of seconds. Everything is even faster and more accessible to us. We are used to that and we expect that in business too; multi-tasking, fast solution, technological innovation, continuous changes, and dynamics.

If you are asking yourself how much you coincide with a typical millennium, here are some key features:

  • multi-tasking: simultaneously solving more tasks, trying to be efficient as much more and spend time more practically
  • technologically educated: quickly adopt new technologies
  • more tolerant towards others: they advocate for social equality,
  • caring for society and "better tomorrow": they volunteer and are more eco-friendly
  • educated: longer formal education, mostly academic degree
  • they like flexibility and freedom: flexible working hours, remote work, home office, more often job change
  • authenticity and integrity: it is important for them to work for a company which is in line with their values; that employer respects the same values and recognizes their individual contribution and specialty
  • transparency: they want to have an open and honest relationship with their superiors and colleagues. They are more satisfied if their superior shares with them all the information, even the bad ones
  • confident, ambitious, "unique": optimistic about their future, have a bigger sense of their own value and specialties, many of them are planning to have their own company and they expect rapid progress and awards
  • focused on results and efficiency: to be evaluated by the results they achieve, not by their formal experience, age or time spent at work
  • team-oriented: having more close relationships with colleagues at work because they enjoy teamwork and it is more efficient
  • accustomed to the availability of information and people 24/7
  • "impatient": they do not want to spend time in vain, want to learn fast, and solve problems.  Bothered by long and inefficient meetings, have shorter attention, want feedback and accomplishment immediately
  • open to new experiences: open to new challenges, new opportunities, adventures and they travel more
  • enthusiastic: curious, wanting to learn new skills and to be better, want the firm invests in their education

Part of Millennials generation is raised with the quote "follow your dreams" and with an idea they are special and unique. Although the ambitiousness and self-confidence are positive traits, some of them develop an unrealistically high sense of self-worth. This is why some media emphasize that Millennials are selfish and. They used to be treated as unique and better, deserving a lot with little effort, expecting to be quickly promoted on the job, earn a lot of money right now, and even become famous. It is a big disappointment when they step into the business world. Then they realize (at least some of them) that they are not the best. There are many good people with the same conviction that they are unique and deserve fast progress. Of course, this description is the caricature and generalization of the Millennium. However, it is true that many Millennials enter the world of adults with unrealistic expectations and then get disappointed. They have been educated for a long time, and then they get jobs which don’t earn a lot of money in a short time, and they are dealing with tasks they are not willing to do, and they have a feeling that they are under-estimated. Some of them will work hard and some will be looking for another opportunity.

Millennials

But let's turn this to the other side. Is this really a feature of Millennials?

Former generations also were young and adapting to the world of adults. I suppose a part of them came into this world with a lot of enthusiasm, high expectations, and totally ready to conquer the world. Maybe it's not yet time to make a quick conclusion that Millennials are "Job hoppers" because this is something that is similar for young people. If we compare Generation X, but from the age when they were 18 to 36, there are almost no differences.

"The new generation has become the" I "generation." - New York Times

"They have difficulty making decisions. They would rather ascend the Himalayas than the corporate scale. Fun games, but their range of attention is shorter than ignition TV! "- Time magazine

Sounds familiar? 🙂

These are actually no comment on the millennium. The first comment (1976) is for Baby Boomers and the second (1990) for Generation X. The appearance of "some new kids ..." and such comments about "today's youth" are repeated throughout history and always there are some new kids that are "spoiled and rude ".

Differences between different generation are usual, and this not necessarily something bad. We have grown up in a different world than our parents did and remains to see what our kids will experience. The society is constantly changing, so that is why it is important to consider that business culture will be changing continuously. We are far from the age when someone would stay on the same job for a whole lifetime, and flexible working hours, darts, and team building are no longer luxury than standard. What is waiting for us in the future? We can only assume and hope for the better (because we are optimistic Millennials).

RELATED

10.04.2019.

Ivan Živić - from a loved colourful character to true leadership qualities

An almost typical story of leaving your comfort zone also marked the career of atypical Ivan Živić, one of Serengeti's top leadership strengths.

Read more