Just like its buzzing name, this generation is becoming a hot topic, not just in the business sector, but in all aspects of society. “Millennials prefer wine to beer…millennial credit card habits…millennial views on marriage…where are millennials living and why…” the list goes on and on.
Perhaps the new infatuation with Gen Y stems from the fact that they are the new consumers, business and thought leaders, and now, according to the latest PEW research, they surpass Gen X in being the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. That number is only projected to grow to 50 percent by 2030.
So what distinguishes this generation from their predecessors according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Millennial Generation Research Review?
Technologically Savvy: Throw away the teddy bears of yesteryear, 80 percent of Millennials sleep next to their cell phones. I can attest I do the same- but to stay safe I turn my phone to airplane mode—the radiation may not kill you, but the 1 AM phone calls will.
Highly Educated: The high school graduation rate now rests at 72 percent, the highest it has been in more than 20 years. Of that portion, 68 percent are expected to become college enrolled. Millennials have now surpassed all other generations in obtaining the highest number of bachelor degrees. Looks like those late nights studying at the student union and sleeping on public benches paid off…or did they? Although Gen Y is well educated, it is more difficult today to find a job post-graduation compared to previous generations. Fortunately, this is also a “heads up” sector who doesn’t stay down and out for too long.
Mr. Brightside: Turn that frown upside down! Did you know Millennials are considered the most optimistic generation in history? In fact, 41 percent are satisfied with current affairs in the U.S. This contrasts sharply with those over the age of 30 who report a mere 26 percent satisfaction.
Red fish, blue fish: Diversity is a huge differentiating factor of Gen Y when compared to previous generations. Nearly 11 percent of Millennials are born to at least one immigrant parent, while hispanic, black, asian, and mixed races are increasing in population while white decreases. This generation is also considered the most tolerant toward races and groups than older generations.
So what does this all mean? As a business it is imperative to cater to the changing times. As Millennials will be populating more than 50% of the workforce by 2030, it is crucial to begin implementing ways to engage and retain this specific sector. If you have Millennial workers now, you might want to focus on retaining your current “job hopping” employees as they have been nicknamed. One way to do so would be by implementing a Social Employee Referral Program (gaining qualified millennial applicants via other tech savvy millennials), incorporating an online, gamified incentive program platform, getting a Wii for the break room, distributing iPads for business or personal use… you name it! Employee Engagement is a science, and it’s never too early to start refining your strategy for future business success.
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