who are millennials?

Millennials are a generational group that will soon become the largest in terms of the professionally active. Employers looking for employees or producers offering their products are increasingly focusing on them. According to various estimates of companies analyzing economic data, such as KPMG in the 2017 report. In 2020 they will constitute 50% of employees in companies, and by 2030 they will represent 75% of the professionally active.

Different age groups meet in the workplace. The generational divisions presented below are high-level and are not reflected among each individual. However, they show some characteristics and summarize the experience of given age groups.

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Thinking about the very general characteristics millennials as an age group, one can point out that they have more confidence than, for example, generation X. They want to express themselves being open to change. They are often more liberal than previous generations, while becoming less religious. They still have a desire to develop, becoming one of the best-educated generations. On the one hand, they are very eager to use social media, but most of them use the available tools controlling the shared materials through privacy settings. Unlike the Z generation, which often uses new technologies without any limitations.

Bearing in mind the fact that they are becoming the most numerous professional group, we can observe an increasing impact that millennials are beginning to play on the way companies are managed. You can observe how company executives, often representing earlier generations, are trying to adapt to their expectations, and thus change management practices, refreshing design of the offices to meet the needs of the growing number of millenials. Generation Y is one of several groups currently professionally active. Each of them is governed by its own specificity, sets different goals and is guided by different values both at work and in everyday life.

Generation Y during the school period spent time on additional classes and trainings. This is one of the elements that has created in them the habit of continuous learning and continuous development. In addition, it was intensified by their parents, who on the one hand were still busy, went to training cheering, forcing, praising, but also confronting with trainers in situations where they felt that their child had been treated unfairly or missed. They were called helicopter parents. Such actions created a very close relationship, but also sent mixed signals that strengthened the attitude of constant need for recognition and gratification. Parents who, on one hand, are caring, but on the other hand do not give children full freedom of action, they constantly monitor. By forcing teachers to be recognized for their mere participation rather than focusing on their performance.

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They grew up during the technological revolution that facilitated the availability of information and later also goods and services almost in real time. Music that is always available. The revolution of the iPod, which made it easier to enjoy the day with music anywhere, lets you break away from reality. It was easy to collect your favorite songs from online stores sitting at home and rip to one lightweight device. This availability combined with the experience of generation X, which had to wait for hours for its favorite song on the radio to be able to record it on a previously prepared cassette. Wait to rewind movie on a VHS compared to the ease of use of movies on DVD. Amazon, which has taught almost immediate availability by delivering some online shopping even in 2 hours. The emergence of cell phones that made it possible for someone to send a text message or call for an immediate response. Before, you had to try to catch someone at home to answer the phone, which didn’t always work out. Finally, a huge change brought by the appearance of Google search engine. It did two things. On the one hand, it was possible to verify information and check its quality, which allowed to question existing authorities. You didn’t have to take it anymore, now you could find information and form your own opinion in a few seconds. Ultimately, if you could not find information on a given topic just in the search engine you questioned its truthfulness, if there is nothing about it on Google, it means that it does not exist. On the other hand, we have an immediate need fulfilled again. The award comes straight away and you don’t have to wait, search for information in books at home, or go to the library.

Millennials entered the labor market during the economic crisis of 2008, which had its mark on the global economy for nearly a decade. On the one hand, this created greater distrust of state institutions and of big business, which is one of generation Y characteristics. They expect greater change and a more people-centered social approach in decisions made by governments and by business. Nevertheless, they are one of generations that is more optimistic than pessimistic about the future. Since they managed to survive the terrorist attacks on September 9, 2001 in New York and the economic crisis of 2008 they are able to survive everything. It also strengthened two other things, the desire to experience, more importantly experience together.

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Other issue is planning and looking at the future. Millennials saw that both Baby Boomers and generation X, despite hard work and effort, lost homes, cars, and accumulated property. This learned them not to be attached to things and do not try to plan in the long run. They invented the abbreviation YOLO – You Only Live Once. They spend the accumulated funds on travel more often than buying a car or real estate. In addition, as the generation that has the most liberal approach to all differences between people, they expect that future decisions will have social changes in mind. Hence the growing emphasis on reducing the gender pay gap in every sector of the economy. Equal rights for young parents in access to care leave and encouraging especially young fathers to participate more closely in the life of newborn children, allowing both parents to fulfill goals in family life and career. Equal pension rights regardless of gender. Acceptance for social differences resulting from sexual orientation, gender identification. They are looking for a balance between business needs, job responsibilities and willingness to participate in the community and giving more from them through volunteering or spending time under employer’s CSR activities. They want to be part of a community that cares for each other while realizing their professional ambitions.

The development of the internet, during their adolescence, also brought social networking sites that allowed them to keep in touch with the group in which they also want to be when they can’t always be together. This meant that they want to be in touch and have access to all information on a regular basis. They also need such access in the work they undertake. Again, they are the cause of the FOMO phenomenon – Fear of Missing Out. This is an age group that is very creative and wants to look for new solutions, hence new start-ups appearing that want to both meet the needs of the business and fulfill the needs of communities.

In their report ‘Millennials 2019 – Poland’, Deloitte among the presented results of the conducted research shows which aspirations most of the surveyed millennials indicated as key. They list the five biggest ambitions of generation Y:

  1. Make good money / be wealthy
  2. Travel / see the world
  3. Buy your own home
  4. Have children / start a family
  5. Achieve a high professional position

The set of ambitions indicated by the respondents tries to find a balance between professional and personal aspirations. They want to have a sense of self-realization at work, which they share with the Baby Boomers generation, with whom they get along well in the work environment. They try to devote their tasks, learn as much as possible to be able to check yourself and expect rewards in your work. Unlike Baby Boomers, they want to collect their prize faster, without the patience of waiting too long, and when this prize doesn’t come, they know they can take advantage of the offers available and find a job that will give them a sense of appropriate gratification. This is due to the fear of another economic crisis, which may deprive them of the promised retirement measures or material things like homes, cars bought on credit. Importantly, this issue is not always about changing the amount of remuneration, often expectations are about greater freedom at work, more flexible working time, understanding for self-realization outside the company. From a different perspective, generation Y, like generation X, tries to contest reality and expects the workplace or goods providers to carry out its activities within a clearly defined set of values and will stick to it even in more difficult times, confirming its integrity in business. They want to feel that companies, thinking about the financial result, will deliver results in an ethical manner and in accordance with the proclaimed values and declarations included in the mission and vision of the company. Regardless of whether they will deal with them as employees or consumers.

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Literature:

  1. Milenialsi 2019 – Polska. Polskie wyniki globalnego badania „Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019, Deloitte, [online], Dostęp w internecie: https://www2.deloitte.com/pl/pl/pages/human-capital/articles/raport-millenialsi-2019.html, (22.11.2019)

Author: Michal Tarabula

Experienced business services professional with over 13 years of experience, working in this diversified world of ours. Trying to work out how we could understand each other better.

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