In 2014, there were over 77 million Millennials between 22 and 34 years of age. The number of Boomers is roughly the same. Each of these generations outnumbers the Gen Xers by about 68 percent. The large size of Generation Y suggests it is likely to have as significant an impact on the culture, and in particular on the workforce, as the Boomers did.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, a number of myths about Generation Y have emerged. The six most prevalent are:
- Millennials feel a sense of entitlement.
- Millennials expect to be rewarded, and even promoted, just for showing up.
- Millennials do not work hard.
- Millennials do not complete their work and will not take initiative.
- Millennials are casual and disrespectful.
- Millennials are not willing to do their part and pay their dues, and they want freedom, flexibility, and work-life balance as soon as they begin their careers.
To be able to work with and manage Millennials, Boomers and Gen Xers must discover the truths behind the myths. Additionally, Millennials must do their part to understand why their older coworkers are frustrated.
Generation Y is the first “digitally native” generation. Its members have grown up with technology touching almost every part of their lives. This technology has fostered a sense of immediate gratification. Technology has also contributed to a different concept of time and place for Millennials. They can connect with anyone at any time, and access any information they want when they want it.
Millennials are also the most educated generation in the workplace today. Caraher blames grade inflation by colleges and universities for a part of the problem concerning Millennials’ work ethic. Secondary education has labeled most Millennial graduates as above average and allowed for negotiation with grades and feedback. Such practices have not helped others’ reservations regarding this generation’s ability to get work done. Parental over-involvement also hinders Millennials’ job satisfaction and tenacity.
Given that Millennials will constitute nearly half of the workforce by 2020, companies need to understand, appreciate, and effectively work with them without changing their standards of performance.