Millennials, Challenge and Opportunity

Generations, like people, have personalities. Their collective identities typically reveal themselves when their oldest members move into their teens and twenties and begin to act upon their values, attitudes and world views. Our newest generation, the Millennials is in the middle of its life cycle.

They are the first generation in human history who regard behaviours like tweeting and texting and websites like Wikipedia, YouTube as parts of their social life (Pew Research Center). Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe ascribe seven basic traits to the Millennial cohort: special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, conventional, pressured and achieving. Psychologists (Jean Twenge) attributes Millennials with part of these traits, but also describes a certain sense of entitlement and narcissism.

Although there are vast and conflicting amounts of literature discussing Millennials in the workplace, majority research concludes that Millennials differ from generation predecessors and can be characterised by a preference for a flat corporate culture, and a clear emphasis on work-life balance and social consciousness.

Studies show nearly one-third of students top priority is to balance personal and professional life (Brain Drain Study). Data also suggests Millennials are driving a shift towards the public service sector. According to Harvard University, six out of ten Millennials consider a career in public service.

Employers are concerned that Millennials have to great expectations from the workplace, that they will switch their jobs frequently, holding many more jobs than previous generations. Employers will need to realise that every generation holds challenge and opportunity. It will be a challenge to deal with a new and different generation, but they will show companies and organisations the path forward, we only have to listen.

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