The younger generation, usually also referred to “Millennials”, are often described as lazy, privileged attention seekers. They are also described as confident, assertive and narcissistic, craving for attention all the time. It might seem that “me me me” generation is wasting their precious young years in front of computer while using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for self-branding purposes, yet being a part of Millennials I would like to stand out and say: “Being self-centered is not bad. We’ve got the point”.
Strauss-Howe generation theory, created by American historians and authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, identifies a recurring generational cycle in American history. They believe that each generation has common characteristics that give it a specific character. Accordin to William Strauss and Neil Hower, there are four basic generational archetypes, repeating a cycle. Authors claim that Millennials will become “civic-minded” with stronger sense of community and stronger sense of belonging to a group.
In many developing countries Millennials dominate, comprising almost 30% of the population, whereas their parent generation, referred to Boomers (or baby boomers), comprise a little over 14%. In Denmark, Millennials comprise only 12% of population but they know to score the older generation off.
Baby boomers had easier times finding the job. The older generation was satisfied with their position, pay and the company they work for. They were happy for the stable income and working conditions without thinking (too) much. Millennials want more. Millennials might be a little egoistic and self-centered, especially when it comes to job and working routine. But they know what they want and they are ready to get it, even though it might take some. “I am 28 and I just finished my education. I know I am relatively old, bu I am happy I took some years off and tried different activities to see what is it what my passion is. Now, being 28 I am ready to go for my dream”, claims Louise, a psychology student from Aarhus, who hasn’t studied for 2 years in a row, trying to figure out what she is passionate about.
Another type of Danish Millennials are the ones who put 100% efforts in creating innovative businesses, which are generally supported by Danish government, offering various types of support – counselling, free office space if you are studying and mentoring. “5 years ago I was a teenager looking for a summer job to save some money to travel with my friends. I had troubles finding a job because of my age. I guess employers thought I am not reliable enough… So I started my own business”, says Rasmus, currently owning a small online shop. “None of my parents have businesses and I don’t think their generation
Even though, as mentioned earlier, the younger generation, usually also referred to “Millennials”, are often described as lazy, privileged attention seekers, they seem to have a point: self-confidence and courage is the only way to success for them. Other options are rarely available.
Self-confidence – the only way to success?
Let’s face the truth: it is much harder to find a job now than it was 10 years ago. Back then you had to bring your CV and show that you have the needed qualities. That’s about it. Now, you have to knock employers doors for hours in order to be heard and make sure he remembers you, otherwise you will end up with a “pleasant” email with the content “we regret to inform, but…”. If you don’t show your skills and capabilities “at the face” your CV might get lost among other hundreds, if not thousands of other CVs. “If you are not self-confident, you will not get the job. A number of employers want someone with good education and experience. No one really cares about anything else, so being self-confident is not an option, it’s a necessity“, says Jonas, 26, who just finished architecture school. “If you cannot offer experience, you can offer your baldness, and it might work. I didn’t haven’t had any working experience until I got my job, but I have shown my employer a well-developed blog, where I passionately wrote about different styles and techniques”, explains Jonas. “I think it helped me a lot”.
Millennials need, no, must see where their career is developing and what their chances of getting a specific job are. Millennials want to test the things and be sure it’s working. “I think we all have dreamjobs. My dreamjob was one company in Copenhagen, which I started observing as soon as I realized that I want to be an architect. I followed them on Facebook and LinkedIn, and, to be honest, via acquintance of mine I got LinkedIn contacts of my current employer”, says Jonas.
Generation Y versus Baby Boomers
Millennials are accustomed to impact. We want to experience things and find the true answers ourselves, instead of being told so. We want to try out new things and get the new outstanding experiences, and after we do so, we want others to know about it.
Millennials simply have different characteristics than any generation before. We, Millennials are grown up in a society where we have been plugged into technology since we were born. Not long ago Baby Boomers bought their first computers in their 40, and their children outran them with the knowledge after 6-8 years. Baby Boomers agree that Generation Y is technology-savvy. Actually, not technology-savvy, but rather technology-dependent. We have to text, tweet and post. We are used to that. Maybe even addicted. But we know how to market us and our ideas and how to get the best outcome of that. Funny enough, Millennials (or Generation Y) is also called Net generation simply because they do not remember a time when there was no Internet.
Sustainability and CSR
Millennials care about global warming and recycling. They know which garbage is for paper and which one is for plastic or glass. They care that the carrots they are buying are ecological and that the workplace they want to work engages in strong CSR activities.
According to the pwc’s recent research on Millennial values and expectations, Millennials deliberately seek employers whose corporate responsibility behaviour reflects their own values. Besides, they also care about they also care about opportunities to work abroad (at least for a short time) and claim that the most important factors, while choosing an attractive employer are competitive wages and ood opportunities for career progression. Seems relatively simple and understandable, except for the fact that the need to work in a company, which has the same values as you do, now seems even more important than before. “I do not and would not want to work in a company that goes against my values. I myself am a strong supporter of ecological and sustainable lifestyle, so for me it would be natural to choose a company that also cares about that. While working, I want me to be – I don’t want and am not going to change my values and thoughts just to earn money” says Anne, studying global nutrition and health.
It’s clear that Millennials will form a powerful generaton of workers. Will companies have to adjust to that? Probably. Since Baby Boomers might already be thinking and planning their retirement, employers might need to reshape the workplace and adjust it to the needs of Millennials.
* Interestingly enough, Millennials do not seem to be that much into buying houses. Only Only 18% of men and women (18-34 years old) claim that owning their own apartment is the most important achievement.
* Millennials seem to be careless about the price tags. Not too surprising, I believe, since second-hand clothing becomes more and more acceptable option.
* Only around 19% of 20-somethings are married. If we compared Millennials to ther parents’ generation, baby boomers, their parents were more likely to be married at the time they hit their 25th.
* The percentage of young adults, having drivers licence has plunged. I wonder whether it could be because of enormously huge prices?..