Despite what you’ve read about millennials in the workplace, as a generation they genuinely believe they can change their communities…and the entire world for that matter. Even today, as our economy continues to struggle and unemployment is still high—these kids remain optimistic about what they can and will do about it all. What’s more…this is true for the emerging generation worldwide.
Fast Company magazine reports, “Young people in the U.S. care less about the environment and are more optimistic than their counterparts in other countries. They’re more concerned about the economy than anything else, but they still believe their quality of life is better than their parents’ generation. And through it all, the vast majority believes they can make a difference in their local communities.
“This is all according to a survey of 12,000 Millennials in 27 countries (ages 18 to 30) from Telefónica that probed respondents on their feelings about technology, education, personal freedom, and more. The overarching message: this generation has a lot of hope, in spite of the many global crises staring them down.” Highlights of the study, included these findings:
American Millennials are worried about the effects of globalization; 58% believe globalization only generates opportunities for select individuals. And 76% think outsourcing is bad for the US economy.
Millennials all over the world agree on the value of technology: 83% think technology has made it easier to get a job, and 87% say that technology has made it easier to overcome barriers. At the same time, however, 62% think technology has widened the gap between rich and poor.
In most of the world, Millennials are more concerned about the economy than all other issues. But in the U.S. they’re the most concerned: 46% of respondents think the economy is the most pressing issue, while 12% think education is the biggest problem. In Western Europe, people are concerned about the economy (34%) and social inequality (15%). In the Middle East and Africa, respondents are most worried about terrorism (19%) and political unrest (13%).
Here’s something else Millennials can agree on: problems with government. In every region surveyed, most respondents said that the government doesn’t reflect their values and beliefs. Overall, Millennials believe the best way to make a difference in the world is to improve education, followed by protecting the environment and eliminating poverty.
An impressive 62% of respondents believe they can make a local difference, and 40% think they can make a global difference. But—outside parts of Europe and Asia–the majority of Millennials believe they can make a global difference.
My questions for you are:
1. What are you doing to bolster this optimism for students to change the world?
2. How do you balance their idealism with a realistic action plan to execute change?