Millennials, who are they?

Lately, a lot of people are talking about a specific young group called Millennials.  But, why is so important to know who and how are they? Well, because is the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce.

Millennials, is an abbreviation for millennial generation, is a term used by demographers to describe a segment of the population born between 1980 and 2000 (approximately). Millennials are also known as “Generation Y” or sometimes they are called the Net generation because (at least according to some people) they don’t remember a time when there was no Internet. According to a FORBES’survey, Millennials will make up 36 percent of the work force by 2014 and 46 percent by 2020. So, employers cannot ignore the needs, desires and attitudes of this vast generation.

This young people were wanted and they feel individually and collectively special as a result. They feel connected to their parents and they are optimistic and engaged. However, Millennials are so comfortable with significant parental involvement that they expect parents and college employees resolve their conflicts and protect them. They expect to be engaged in their learning, they do not do well being passive learners.  If you (as a teacher/university) do not have technology that will be part of their learning, they will go somewhere else where they can be engaged with, and interactive with technology.

The trend toward Millennials using IPods and laptop computers rather than desktop computers reflects their preference toward a more portable learning environment. Students value the benefits of online learning including balancing work and class, flexibility in assignments and lower costs, more students are doing virtual internships and more employees are working remotely than ever before. As the world becomes more virtual, it will lower costs and allow more students who couldn’t afford education or don’t want to deal with outrageous students loans to educate themselves.

This generation grew up with technology and relies on it to perform their jobs better. Armed with BlackBerrys, laptops, cellphones and other gadgets they are plugged-in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This generation prefers to communicate through e-mail and text messaging rather than face-to-face contact and prefers webinars and online technology to traditional lecture-based presentations.  

Millennials, are entering the workplace in record numbers. They are idealistic, diverse, digitally-enabled, social and perhaps most importantly, ambitious. While these are all traits that can make a positive impact on your organization, it is a tall task to retain and motivate millennials for a variety of reasons.

A study by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the YEC , which is outlined in the graphic below, illustrates the traits that make millennials hirable, and how they differ from previous generations.

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