#157. What We Know About the Millennials

Posted on | The Agurban

What We Know About the Millennials

Last week we reported on the Top Trends to look for in 2008. We would like to make a clarification on Trend 1: Millennials. It is generally reported that the Millennials were born between 1980 and 2000. As with any generation, there is no defining point in time when one generation changes to the next. Also the Millennial generation is about the same size as the Baby Boomers, born between 1940 and 1960, and dwarfs Gen-X’ers, born between 1961 and 1980.

This week we begin a series on just who are the Millennials. An excerpt from Connecting Generations: The Sourcebook by Claire Raines gives us a clearer picture of who the Millennials are. We would like to share her description of Who They Are:

They’re the hottest commodity on the job market since Rosie the Riveter. They’re sociable, optimistic, talented, well-educated, collaborative, open-minded, influential, and achievement-oriented. They’ve always felt sought after, needed, indispensable. They are arriving in the workplace with higher expectations than any generation before them-and they’re so well connected that, if an employer doesn’t match those expectations, they can tell thousands of their cohorts with one click of the mouse. They’re the Millennial Generation. Born between 1980 and 2000, they’re a generation nearly as large as the Baby Boom, and they’re charged with potential.

In this uncertain economy and highly competitive business environment, companies across North America recognize that the differentiator is their people. Those organizations that emerge as winners in the battle for talent will have their fingers on the pulse of this newest generation. They’ll design specific techniques for recruiting, managing, motivating, and retaining them.

The Millennials are just entering the workforce, and, as they do, employers are scrambling to find out everything they can about them. Are they Gen-Xers on steroids? Or are they a new breed entirely? How do they choose a career? And why? How will they change the workplace as we know it today? What are they looking for when they post their resumes on monster.com? What is their work ethic? What is unique about them? How do the best and brightest managers communicate with and motivate them?

While we’ll continue to see older colleagues-Xers, Boomers, and Veterans-supervising the newest recruits, other scenarios will become commonplace: experienced Boomers reporting to a fresh-faced Millennial; members of all four generations working side-by-side on team; Millennial calling on a powerful Gen-X client. Just as the Xers and Boomers finalize their own negotiations for an uncertain workplace peace, optimistic Millennials find themselves at the mercy of Xer skepticism. Gen-Xers complain the Millennials are another indulged generation like the Boomers-that they’re self- absorbed and Pollyanna-ish. Millennials charge that Gen-Xers are cynical and aloof-that they throw a wet blanket on fresh ideas and idealism.

As the most recent generation to enter the fray, the Millennials are likely to ask their older colleagues to chill out, get a life, and walk a mile in a younger generation’s shoes.

Next week we will take a look at how the Millennials were shaped. Stay tuned!