The term “Millennial” (also commonly called Generation Y) refers to those individuals who reached young adulthood after the turn of the most recent century—or in other words, those born between 1980 and 2000.
Now that many Millennials have finished their schooling and begun to establish themselves in careers, we are starting to see the effects. This isn’t unusual. With every generation we’ve seen changes in the workplace, and adjustments have been made by both the incoming and established employees.
Many people of older generations view Millennials as lazy, spoiled, or coddled, perhaps because some Millennials still live with their parents or are unemployed.
To a degree, however, Millennials are a product of their environment. When they were graduating from college or should have been making their entry into the workforce, our country was in a recession. The number of jobs available was significantly lower than in previous generations, making the job market extremely competitive.
As we emerge from the recession, Millennials are often pegged as inexperienced or lacking motivation. In truth, if leveraged properly, they have a lot to offer. By 2030 Millennials will occupy 75% of the workforce. Soon it will be their way or the highway. Here are three things about Millennials we can all be grateful for.
#1. Millennials are educated
Millennials are the most educated generation in history. Many pursued advanced degrees as an alternative to finding a job in a bad market. This seemed like a logical choice. If you can’t find a job, why not make yourself more marketable?
Despite their high education levels, however, many Millennials are underemployed. Because of their late entry into the workforce and the increasing number of older employees putting off retirement, the job market contains fewer high-level jobs now than before the recession.
Still, it can be argued Millennials have a thirst for knowledge. Growing up surrounded by technology meant answers were always at their fingertips. Millennials never had to wait to gain understanding. This availability of information has resulted in many as a desire to learn and to retain copious amounts of information.
#2. Millennials are motivated
Millennials are driven and ambitious, but they often seek structure previous generations did not require. Their childhoods were structured, and their schooling was structured. Perhaps those who stayed home longer had a prolonged exposure to these types of structures. In any case, the need for structure has been ingrained in Millennials. They don’t need to have their hands held, but when provided guidance and structure they are less likely to become disengaged or distracted and are better able to stay on task. Because of their positivity and passion, when they stay on task they have the capacity to be extremely productive.
#3. Millennials are relational
Millennials value relationships, whether with their superiors or their fellow employees. This relational focus means many of them have the capacity to thrive within teams and will make an effort to work well with others. Millennials care what others think of them. When they are able to make work activities more social and interactive they do well.
They also have a greater desire for feedback and affirmation. This gives way to greater opportunities for coaching and development. Millennials are eager to learn, eager to succeed, and eager to please.
In short, Millennials have a lot of good qualities that can be used to advance your business.
Learn more about managing generations in the workplace by downloading PayScale’s whitepaper, “Compensation Challenges for a Multi-Generational Workforce,” today!