What makes the biggest generation since the Baby Boomers so controversial? According to the Pew Research Center, in 2015, millennials (ages 18-34) made up 75.4 million of the American population. Is there a deeper message to this generation than the one constantly flashing at the palms of their hands? Does this generation, in fact, hold the key to bridging gaps left to them by previous generations?
Following are three reasons why the millennial generation is an admirable generation, and three reasons explaining why it is not.
Arguments for the millennial generation
They are open-minded.
Born into mass communication, millennials are the most diverse generation known to date. They are exposed to every race, gender, idea and story at just a click of a button. Their tech-savvy skill set allows them to constantly educate themselves, making them culturally competent and open to diversity. As a whole, the generation separates racial diversity from cognitive diversity (which focuses on blending backgrounds, experiences and perspectives in a team setting). Not only are they the most racially diverse generation, but they also feel cognitive diversity is a necessity to succeed in a team setting. This is to say that the young generation wants to focus on a common goal rather than just on the minority.
They have a voice.
Millennials are giving a spin to what is called “traditional marketing.” This group of young people no longer rewards large corporations strictly based on their reputation. They expect large corporations to be accountable for their policies, and want to believe in the brands they support. For example, 73% of millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings. Once they support a brand, they will go so far as to market the brand themselves .They are able to join forces against huge brands and come together for shared ideologies.
They have values.
Most millennials are carrying student loans and high-rising housing costs along with them to their workplace. Despite the fact that money is of some concern to them, it does not define their overall values. Millennials would prefer to seek an employer with their shared ethics over receiving a fat paycheck. Employee satisfaction is something of great importance to this generation. They are looking to be treated equally at their place of work and to be nurtured by their employer, especially if they are expected to work long term.
Arguments against the millennial generation
Lack social skills.
Being so “plugged in” has its costs. This comes into play when analyzing basic millennial behavior. Their inability to engage in human interaction can often come off as “awkward” or being a “bad team player.” This is because millennials speak two languages: the spoken language and the online language. Online words are abbreviated, shortened and replaced by “emojis” that take the place of full remarks. Constantly communicating online allows people to say hurtful things that they would never say face-to-face. For example, cyber-bullying has affected 21% of high school students in the United States. Millennials don’t feel the need to be politically correct when chatting online, and face a cosmic halt when faced with real-life circumstances that require such correctness.
See a hierarchy system as dated.
Millennials have trouble accepting a hierarchy system as the status quo. Millennials prefer a flat management structure or even a computer spread sheet to keep track of their progress rather than reporting to middle management. They prefer a flat management structure or even a computer spreadsheet to keep track of their progress, rather than reporting to middle management. On the other side, 68% of corporate recruiters say that it’s difficult to manage millennials. In a world where most corporate companies lean on this type of hierarchical organization, it is difficult incorporating the young generation into the workplace.
Expect fast results.
Another side effect of modern technology on millennials is the expectation of receiving quick results. Millennials are used to searching and finding what they need within milliseconds, and they constantly receive instant gratification. This has made them impatient, which can cause them to give up on long-term projects. Seeing as we still live in a world that requires long-term results, especially in the workforce, impatience is a huge con for the millennial generation. It can also come across in relationships and other long-term commitments.
Bottom line: There is reason to appreciate this new value-focused and strong-willed generation, but some may find millennials’ attitudes off-putting and difficult to work with. Will they be able to successfully integrate with the generations above them? What do you think about millennials?