Millennials: The Stereotypes vs The Facts

Millennials – the most tech-savvy generation, yet those stereotyped as the most bewildered at how long it takes to boil an egg. Typically born between 1981 and 1997, it’s of no doubt that millennials get a bad rep, particularly within the workplace. With millennials predicted to make up 40% of the world’s workforce by 2020, it’s clear that their influence in the working world shouldn’t be ignored. Typically associated with negative stereotypes when it comes to their work performance and ethics, millennials are in fact arguably the most educated generation to date and could be just the talent your company needs. The question is – how do companies attract them and, most importantly, how do companies keep them?

Known by some as ‘trophy kids’, millennials are said to have higher expectations of what they will achieve, or even what they deserve, in the workplace. This, according to some, comes as a result of being part of the generation that supposedly receives a trophy just for showing up. It can be argued though, that millennials merely know what they want from their career and aren’t afraid to voice it. They favour a more lenient environment rather than a strict hierarchical setting, meaning they are more comfortable in voicing their opinions particularly regarding their own personal development.

Millennials undoubtedly favour flexibility at work, something which previous generations – who are used to putting in long hours – sometimes see as slacking. This isn’t always the case, however, and can be attributed to young people seeing the effects of parents spending more time at work than home, and instead favour a working schedule that enables them to create a balance between their career and home life. As the first generation that grew up with such readily available technology, their tech-savvy skills make it easy to work from home, the office, or pretty much anywhere in between, making flexibility more achievable and certainly more productive than in previous generations. Arrangements that allow them to prioritize their lifestyle, family, and social life will therefore be crucial in attracting and keeping millennials in your company.

Company culture is another factor that can be hugely important in swaying the younger generation’s choice of work. Previous generations arguably experienced a rigid hierarchical structure within the workplace, in which corporate, professional settings were predominant. Nowadays, however, many companies are highly focused on the culture their company exhibits, with a main part of this concentrating on the workplace environment. A more laid back, ‘fun’ office is generally favoured by the younger working generation – with Google and Facebook offices being a prime example of this type of setting.

Millennials are typically seen as the job-hopping generation and, arguably, rightfully so. A 2016 poll by Gallup found that 21% of millennial workers in the past year had left their job in favour of a new opportunity, a number which was three times as high as non-millennials. But what is it that sends this generation packing? As previously mentioned, millennials aren’t shy about their career goals and prospects. If their current employer isn’t likely to take them there, they’ll move to somewhere that will. The offer of career growth and progression is crucial to millennials, therefore making it a fundamental tool for companies to keep them.

The stereotypes that often tar the millennial generation can typically be seen as having negative connotations. However, its important to remember that millennials are also the fresh, new talent on the working scene, with a very different working mindset to previous generations.

In the years to come, are we likely to see a shift in typical work settings that will sway to the more lenient preference of millennials, or the maintenance of a strict environment with rigid hierarchy that generations before us are so used to?