Millennials and Their Influence on the Workplace

Since essentially the inception of the term “Millennials” (those born between 1981-1996) those who fall in that generation have been taken the blame for a lot of societal shifts. Housing market isn’t doing as well as it was? Blame Millennials. Certain business industries are suffering? Those darn Millennials. Eating too much avocado toast? You guessed it….Millennials. Back in 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation claimed that “Millennials are likely the most studied generation in history,” and the claim isn’t that far off. Although, they forgot to mention that the generation would also likely be the most scrutinized.

With nearly 80 million Millennials in the United States, this generation makes up the largest segment of the current labor force. It is safe to say that Millennials aren’t going anywhere, much to the chagrin of previous generations. However, according to a study from HR research firm ClearlyRated and freelancing website Upwork, this generation’s (and the one immediately after – Gen Z) influence is causing four major shifts in the workforce. They are as follows:

Reskilling

In these days with technological advancements making work easier, and sometimes even replacing jobs all together, if you don’t adapt you will fall behind and ultimately fail. According to the aforementioned study that surveyed over 1,000 hiring managers, over 96 percent said that they think reskilling is important for employees.

There is a generational difference when it comes to reskilling. Most Baby Boomers (those born 1946-1964) believe that their employer should be responsible for training the staff and facilitating the reskilling efforts. Millennials, on the other hand, are more prone to taking the task of reskilling upon themselves and proactively search for training.

Planning Ahead

The Millennial generation has fallen victim to being labeled as “job hoppers.” While 44 percent of Millennials say they will leave their current position within two years, according to Pepperdine University, but that is due to the fact that this generation is more likely to prioritize future workplace planning.

As trends change, such as remote working, Millennial managers are two times more likely than Baby Boomers to develop a “flexible talent strategy as well as investing in technology to support a remote workforce,” according to Karen Gilchrist. Which leads to the next shift ⤵️

Remote Working

Thanks to technology and the ability to remain constantly connected to the office, remote working has become an increasingly popular workplace perk. There are many benefits and downsides to working remotely, but Millennials are more likely to embrace this movement. Nearly ¾ of Millennial (and Gen Z) managers have team members who work remotely at least part of the time, compared to 58 percent of Baby Boomers. Additionally, Gilchrist says by 2028, 73 percent of all teams are expected to have remote workers.

Embracing Freelancers

When you need something for a certain project that your team is unfamiliar with, or doesn’t have time for, enlisting a freelancer is a good option. Millennials are more likely than previous generations to utilize this resource for multiple reasons, including, cost efficiency and productivity.

Baby Boomers on the other hand, may not see the value of enlisting the help of freelancers when they have employees who are capable of doing the work.

Wrap Up

Bob Dylan so eloquently stated, “The Times They Are A Changin’” way back in 1964, when ironically the last of the Baby Boomers were born. While this timeless song wasn’t exactly intended to highlight the workforce, its message rings true. As each generation slowly exits the labor market, the times change and we must figure out ways to keep up.

Although Millennials have taken the brunt of the blame of all that is wrong with society, this generation is influencing the workforce in ways like never before. There have been lots of jokes about these individuals wanting a more relaxed work environment, among other things, but even big companies with tried and true traditions, such as Goldman Sachs are adapting to appease the younger generations and remain competitive in the talent acquisition space.

One day maybe we will be able to look back on at Millennials and realize the monumental societal shifts their generation was responsible for instead of the amount of blame that they get.

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