Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates when the generation starts and ends. Researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.
Millennials are everywhere, both literally and figuratively:
- Fast food companies facing fight to win trust of millennials
- What millennials do and don’t want from their employers
- Study Shows Secret To Managing Millennials Can Be Summed Up In One Word
- How to Retain Millennial Workers
- Millennials Find YouTube Content More Entertaining, Relatable Than TV: Study
They get characterised in all sorts of ways; the Pew Research Institute allows you to take a survey to assess How Millennial Are You? This survey includes the following questions:
- Do you have a tattoo?
- Do you have a piercing in a place other than an earlobe?
(I’m not very Millennial, but that’s not surprising as I was born in the 60’s which are nowhere near the 80’s and I’m lacking any bodily adornment)
Time Magazine characterised them as the Me Me Me Generation.
Recently IBM undertook some research to see whether all of the characterisations were true. You can perhaps imagine some of the findings by the title Myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths – The real story behind Millenials in the workplace:
In a multigenerational, global study of employees from organizations large and small we compared the preferences and behavioral patterns of Millennials with those of Gen X and Baby Boomers. We discovered that Millennials want many of the same things their older colleagues do. While there are some distinctions among the generations, Millennials’ attitudes are not poles apart from other employees’.
Our research debunks five common myths about Millennials and exposes three “uncomfortable truths” that apply to employees of all ages. Learn how a multigenerational workforce can thrive in today’s volatile work environment.
What were the myths:
- Myth 1: Millennials’ career goals and expectations are different from those of older generations.
- Myth 2: Millennials want constant acclaim and think everyone on the team should get a trophy.
- Myth 3: Millennials are digital addicts who want to do – and share – everything online, without regard for personal or professional boundaries.
- Myth 4: Millennials, unlike their older colleagues, can’t make a decision without first inviting everyone to weigh in.
- Myth 5: Millennials are more likely to jump ship if a job doesn’t fulfill their passions.
Remember, they are called myths because they aren’t true. In the main the research discovered that the Millennial generation is just like the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations in all of these traits. There are some situations where it’s the other generations that are different – “Gen X employees use their personal social media accounts for work purposes more frequently that other employees” – but there are no polar differences between the generations.
So why is so much being written about the differences that the Millenials will bring, some of it is also research based, but I’m sure that there is a good deal of confirmation bias to it also (but perhaps I like the IBM research because it confirms my bias).