Those Damn Kids

July 10, 2015 Chris Spann

Millennials in the workforceMillennials entering the workforce is an extremely hot topic.  Every few years, new generations join the workforce. So what makes the millennials so important?  In order to fully comprehend the impact millennials are making, we need insight into how the workforce has changed historically.

Prior to the industrial revolution,  products and services were produced on an independent and individual scale. People were defined by their trade or “crafts” and each had its own role in society.  Products were produced by hand, by skilled individuals.

In the 1800s, the industrial revolution brought about the transition from creating products by hand to using machines to do the work. Inevitably, the output of the machines exceeded that of any one person or group of skilled craftsman.  This was only the beginning.

On December 01, 1913 Henry Ford installed the first moving assembly line for the mass production of automobiles. Machines from the industrial revolution had already made production more efficient.  Ford’s assembly line paved the way for a new model of the workforce.  This model defined how large companies would manage employees for over half the century.  Seth Godin describes this as the “take care of you bargain”.

The “take care of you bargain” idea is simple.  Employees will have a defined role with defined tasks.  Expectations are explicit.  If employees learn how to pay attention,  follow instructions, show up on time, and try hard the company will take care of you. Employees will be offered health insurance and job security.**  It’s a simple transaction both sides agree to, and responsibilities are understood.  This model of the workforce has driven the growth of fortune 500’s for decades.

Just like machines took the production from the individual’s hands, and the assembly line automated production, the internet continues to be the new catalyst of change.

Harvard Business Review predicted the “end of the office as we know it” in 1985 upon the arrival of the first mobile phone.  Their prediction was simple, with this technology “your office will become where you are” regardless of your location.  Prior to this, If a person needed to communicate via phone, they would need to be at a location that had a phone.  There was no email, no text messaging. Communication had to be done in a specific location local to everyone. Long-distant calling was a cost that needed to be budgeted.  Communication was soon to be available anytime and anywhere.

Baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) remember the onset of mobile technology.  The next generations (x,y and z) remember less and less of a world devoid of technology.  This brings us to the millennials (those born between 1981 and 1997).  A generation that does not know life without the internet and technology of today.

For years, baby boomers have made up the largest living generation in the US.  Currently,  it is estimated that up to 10,000 are retiring each day.  This year, the number of millennials will reach more than 75M.  Presenting millennials with the title of the new largest living generation in the US, moving ahead of the baby boomers.

Why is this so significant? There are an estimated 54 million Millennials currently in the workforce. In 15 years, it is predicted that they will account for 75 percent of the workforce.  Past developments in technology originally targeted to the pain points of baby boomers are becoming irrelevant. These generations are leaving the workforce while millennials are coming in swarms.  Where older generations saw the rise of technology, millennials are perpetuating its growth. Millennials are not aware of the world without technology.  A world without the connectivity of the internet.

This is producing new paradigms for companies while the “take care of you bargain” is disintegrating.  If there is a question or curiosity it can be quickly answered.  Millennials have their own values which demand their attention in a culture of instant feedback.  This generation has spearheaded a society where consumers are holding businesses accountable for their offerings.

A profound and historic change has occurred and it has no intentions of moving in reverse.  It is moving forward and gaining speed.  It is all millennials know and have experienced from very early childhood.  They are the first generation technology has created.

Want to know what this means to your business and how to optimize the impacts millennials could make to your company? 

Download your free copy of “Cutting Through the Clutter”



About the Author

Chris Spann

Chris Spann is a Senior Marketing Manager, brand expert, and content contributor at Perks

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