Last week I came across one more post dealing with millennial or I don’t know what new generation that will revolutionize the workplace. I gave-up right after the abstract : it was enough for me to understand that it was nothing but one one avatar of the stale running joke that’s been around for 12 years : the new generation that is going to break everything into pieces and eventually breaks nothing until the advent of a new generation that does not break anything either.
I won’t link to the many posts I’ve wrote on that matter but I’d like to point at some recent figures just to wake people up
Let’s start with a Manpower Study, dating back to 2016
Millenials love work and money
Millenials are often depicted as disenchanted by businesses and the fact they went through more crisis than other generations. But they do not seem to do so bad since 2/3rd of them are very positive regarding their career.
But it does not prevent them from being realistic : 60% thing they’ll work until 65, 27% after 70. We don’t know if they’re happy with that or not but they got how our would is and do with it. Not the kind of progressive idealists being described to us.
And those who see them as reluctant to work and not wanting to waste their life in the office…: they work at least as hard as the previous generations.25% work more than 50 hours a week.
But they have a different approach to their career. They know that no business will make long-term promises so they stopped seeing their career as a linear thing but as a succession of waves. They strongly commit for a few years, then take a break to travel, learn, unwind, and then move to another challenge and so on.
But millenials are not pursuing the same goals as their elders. They want meaning, to be able to change the world, have an impact. Are you so sure ?
Are millenials materialistic ? No, they’re just pragmatic
When they assess a new career opportunity what matters the most to them is money (92%), then Security (87%) then vacation (86%).Â The ability to work with great people matters for 80% of them and flexible work for 79%. One more evidence that one could have a new approach to life, their are realities one can’t avoid when it comes to pay the rent or grow the family. They’re pragmatic, as their elder were before. One more evidence that we should not mistake generations with life stages.
But they have a new approach to careers and jobs. No more than 12 24 months for a promotion or a new job. They don’t think in terms of jobs but portfolio and multidisciplinary. But if they’re offered a good work/life balance or a clear career path they can be patient.
I advise you to read this study and go deeper into details but, as I previously wrote, they’re not that different from the previous generations. They are Gen X who adapted to the times they live in, as Gen X were adapted boomers. It’s more a matter of context than of intrinsic expectations or deep aspirations.
Let’s continue with aÂ Comet Financial intelligenceÂ study.
I think we must take this one more carefully : unlike the Manpower one that was global, this one is only about young american what surely comes with a cultural bias.
Ready to break a relationship for $37K ?
The first take is that millenials will never refuse a good career opportunity. Even if it means postponing a marriage, a baby or moving. 59% would end a relationship if it could jeopardize their career. They would en a relationship for a $37K raise. They would postpone having a baby for $64K. Shocking ? I don’t think so. It’s not as if they were ready to do anything for $5K. But it means something. Since we don’t have the figures for the previous generations at the same age it’s hard to get what it really means. But the fact remains that 40% of them prefer staying single to focus on their career.
Here again I suggest you have a deeper reading of the study. The love vs money approach is quite new and even surprising. I’m not sure that it means something else than “money and career matter to millenials” since we can’t compare with the previous generations at the same age.
The difference between Gen X and millenials may not be what they expect but the reason why they expect it
Anyway, for a lazy generation that’s not interested into money and is eager to change the world and find a meaning to their life, they have the materialistic and careerist side that was reproached to execs and managers in the 80s. But, in fact, we don’t have the answer to the only question that would make sense : the same behavior can have different causes. Sign of wealth for some, survival instinct for others ? We’ll never know and that’s a pity because it would have helped to make senses of these figures.
Bottom line : consider that millennials are a big deal of you want. But, for me, the biggest risk is to take them for what they are not.
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