Every generation shapes the world in its own, unique ways. If Baby Boomers (born in 40s-60s) and Generation X (born in 1960-early 80s) left an indelible mark on life and society in the later part of the previous century, the millennials born in late-1980s and ’90s are changing the face of society and business in contemporary times. The millennials have already surpassed the previous two generations to emerge as the largest component of workforce today and are destined to constitute almost half the working population and transform business by the year 2020.
Millennials are the most tech-savvy generation till date. A 2016 Nielsen study suggests that nearly 100% of the millennials own smartphones. They consume an enormous amount of digital content each day and are glued to social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and Youtube.
Millennials differ from their predecessors in matters concerning life and work. In a departure from previous generations, the millennials are postponing marriage and child-bearing in order to focus on personal lives, nurture careers and deal with uncertain times. They strive to live fulfilling lives and shape their own destinies rather than succumb to social diktats regarding matters of religion, career and dress.
A Millennials-Driven Workplace
Millennials are committed to a flexible and remote work-style, and prioritize career over employer. According to a FlexJobs survey, one third of the millennials left their jobs in 2016 as their employers did not offer the desired flexibility. The millennials love to travel and prefer experiences to things. A MMGY Global’s 2016 survey on American travelers demonstrated that 81% of the millennials associated business travel with job satisfaction and looked favorably at spending money on traveling rather than purchasing a house. Millennials are not enamored by the trappings of a 9-5 job and prefer to structure their work schedule to accommodate personal and family goals. Since the millennials are more inclined to being on the move rather than confined to a particular work organization or location, it makes immense sense for them to rent a house rather than buy one. And as they rent and move often, they rely on the self-storage industry to safely store their excess baggage instead of lugging it around or spending excessively on spacious and expensive rented accommodation.
Millennials are flocking to companies that offer personal growth, diverse work environment and social satisfaction. They seek to fulfill their life’s purpose by working in corporates that are devoted to the well-being of society. They have no qualms about leaving well-paying jobs and dedicating themselves to meaningful work rather than living a comatose existence. This only shows that the millennials are not the egoistic, individualistic and technological slaves that they are made out to be.
The millennials are the ideal leaders of change. They are unafraid to break norms and to be themselves. They are honest and courageous enough to challenge the status quo and speak out against social wrongs. This generation is more grounded and focused, and works as hard as their counterparts of the past.
A Dream Gone Sour?
The youngsters of today are facing a far more uncertain world than the prevalent situation 20 years back. The recent spike in terror attacks and Brexit, among other incidents, have made millennials more apprehensive about their future. They earn lesser than their counterparts of the last two decades and jobs are harder to find in wake of the financial meltdown in 2008.
According to the American Psychological Association, millennials experience more stress and are less equipped to deal with its consequences as compared to preceding generations. There is a higher degree of insecurity due to depressed work conditions, unfair comparisons with peers and constant pressure to prove one’s worth. A 24×7 work schedule and hyper activity on social media platforms are also playing havoc with mental and physical health, and social relationships of the millennial generation.
Technology is also complicating matters. The internet has added flexibility to the lives of millennials by opening up possibilities of living and working anywhere and anytime, while tools such as emails, SMS’ and Skype have enhanced work productivity. But technology has not made lives any easier as internet connectivity has blurred the lines between personal and work life, and heightened work expectations.
Millennials to take centre-stage
Millennials are set to disrupt the workplace and social milieu of the future. As millennials become a major force to reckon with, in the world of work, companies are changing their work cultures and re-working their human resources strategies to respond to the expectations and priorities of the new adult workforce. There is a gradual shift towards a healthier, open and flexible work culture that seeks to become familiar with and adapt itself to the teeming millennials. As millennials graduate into major spenders, companies are re-orienting their marketing and customer service strategies to stay attuned to the diverse needs of a tech-savvy consumer population. Society, workplaces and businesses need to continually evolve in this dynamic environment or slide into irrelevance.