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Millennials in the Marketplace: Are They Any Different?


A 2011 study conducted by Kenexa High Performance Institute reveals that the attitudes of Millennials (or Generation Y) in the workplace may not be too different than Generation X or the Baby Boomers.

What the researchers discovered was that, contrary to the stereotype of being malcontented, coddled, naïve and idealistic, Generation Y are in many ways just as satisfied as their older colleagues. The young workers, in fact, showed up as slightly higher than the older two generations in company satisfaction, job security and in satisfaction with recognition on the job.  This is, obviously, great news in 2011, as we consider the state of our nation.

So what do we do with the hundreds of surveys and studies done in recent years that show otherwise? For me personally, what do I do with the truckloads of interviews I have done with employers who say “they will never hire another recent college graduate” due to the arrogant, cocky attitude they brought with them?

I think I see what’s happening.  I believe both are right. Stop and reflect for a moment about three reasons for this recent news.

1. Generation Y continues to be the highest unemployed demographic in the U.S. More than a third (37%) are out of work. Don’t you think this fact might make those who are employed a feel little more grateful and a little less entitled?

2. Management and HR executives now have a decade of experience with Generation Y in the workplace. I think Boomers and Xers are adjusting to the new, young team members and helping them “on board” with greater efficiency.

3. The early hires that companies made, based mostly on talent and pedigree, have been corrected. Society has a way of weeding out the undesirables and allowing the cream to rise to the top. I think the kids who are good are the ones employed.

Let’s face it. In today’s economy, having a decent job is now a reason to be thankful. Perhaps the early years of kids being told they were awesome, and given trophies for simply playing on the soccer team—has now worn off. Everyone, including the young employees has been spoon-fed a dose of reality. It’s always good medicine.

I work with teens and twenty-somethings and I continue to believe in them. I predicted three years ago that our struggling economy would be the best thing to help the kids enter the real world. Perhaps, it is actually happening.

What are your thoughts? Am I being too tough? Do you see any other reasons for the good attitudes at work?

Tim

2 Comments

  1. Trent Thomas on August 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I love the way you think about how these surveys can disagree, yet agree at the same time.  There is an evolution happening on a constant basis for the Generation Y.  It seems that they are learning that a great idea of work that is stuck in their head will not keep them  employed.  They have to actually do the work.  I imagine, after they finish, they are thankful for the feeling of accomplishment.  

    • Tim Elmore on August 23, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      Good point – actually doing the work and experiencing the sense of accomplishment builds real self-esteem. Thanks for sharing!

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Millennials in the Marketplace: Are They Any Different?