The workforce is dominated by millennials, simply classified as anyone born between 1982 and 1999. In our Huddle session, there was a lot of debate about whether we can or should categorise the millions of people that sit in this group under this one umbrella. One thing was clear, this group typically does have a different outlook to other generations, and in particular, in relation to work.
It was widely agreed that the workplace is being shaped by this group. And ultimately, there are many false assumptions circulating around millennials. For instance, many people argue that millennials are flaky and entitled. Yes, there are always members of every group that let others down, but these cannot be used to judge millions in the workforce.
Mindshare chief talent officer, Jennifer Healy, revealed that data which backs up these tired stereotypes is only ever sourced from HRs. Like every generation, new people in the workforce want to try a different way of approaching problems. Far from being a negative, this makes millennials agile and collaborative â€“ skills in high demand. Alex Baker, prolific career-slashie most prominently known as presenter on Kerrang Radio, pointed out that millennials need to be mindful not to step on the toes of others, even if their intentions are good.
Vicky Spratt, deputy editor of The Debrief, discussed that empirically it has never been harder to be a young adult. There are so many pressures on millennials like house prices and the extreme cost of living. Those few Instagram influencers arenâ€™t representative of a generation struggling.
It was argued that millennials have been affected by the awareness brought on by technology, especially in relation to their jobs. Older generations thought about wealth creation for companies, whereas this generation looks at the purpose of work. The typical millennial wants to know why their work exists and why they do it.
Trevor Hardy, CEO at The Future Laboratories, contended that a fundamental problem facing businesses is that they only look at the short-term view. Instead they should think about the changes to make now to prepare themselves for the changing world of work, five, ten years in the future.
The influence of the millennial generation on the workplace is undeniable. The narrative needs to move beyond just the older generations resenting the young, and the young feeling victimised. Collaboration, discussion and support are all needed to ensure that millennials feel valued, and bring their best selves to work.