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The Millennials: Tuning in to the Plugged-in Generation. Central Piedmont Community College Center for Applied Research Bobbie Fields Terri Manning Cheryl Roberts. A Study Funded by the Workforce Development Board.

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the millennials tuning in to the plugged in generation

The Millennials: Tuning in to the Plugged-in Generation

Central Piedmont Community College

Center for Applied Research

Bobbie Fields

Terri Manning

Cheryl Roberts

A Study Funded by the Workforce Development Board

it may take a village to raise a child but it takes a society to raise a generation

It May Take a Village to Raise a Child, but it Takes a Society to Raise a Generation

Economic Conditions

Societal Norms

Political Events

Major Crises

the echo boom millennials
The Echo Boom/Millennials…
  • The Millennials are almost as large as the baby boom-some say larger - depending on how you measure them.
  • The Millennials are the children born between 1982 and 2002 (peaked in 1990), a cohort called by various names:

Echo Boom

Generation Y


Net Generation

demographic explanations for the echo boom
DemographicExplanations for the ‘Echo Boom’
  • The Baby Boomers chose to become older parents while Gen X moms reverted back to the earlier birth-age norm – which meant that two generations were having babies.
  • Average age of mothers at birth at an all time high of 27 in 1997.
  • More parental education: 1 in 4 has at least one parent with a college degree. Kids born in the late ‘90s are the first in American history whose mothers are better educated than their fathers by a small margin.
demographic trends diversity
Demographic Trends- Diversity
  • Millennials have become the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in US History with nearly 35% of being minorities.
  • Latinos are the largest minority group (16%) followed by African Americans/Blacks (14%) making this the first generation in US history in which African Americans/Blacks are no longer the largest of all racial and ethnic minorities.
  • The Millennial childhood coincides with the most “monumental” financial boom in history.
  • This generation has been plugged in since they were babies.
  • They grew up with educational software and computer games.
  • They think technology should be free.
  • They want and expect services 24/7.
  • They do not live in an 8–5 world.
  • They all have cell phones and expect to be in contact 24/7.
  • They function in an international world.
safety issues
Safety Issues

The Safest Generation

  • This generation was buckled up in car seats, wore bike helmets, elbow and knee pads when skating, and were the inspiration for “Baby on Board” signs

The Well-Being of U.S. Teens

  • Mortality Rate for US teens aged 15–19 declined from 1960 to 1997

-Teens are having fewer accidents than Boomers

baby boomers as parents
Baby Boomers as Parents
  • Boomers explained things to their children, (actions, consequences, options, etc.).
  • They allowed their children to have input into family decisions, educational options and discipline issues.
  • Millennials have become “master negotiators” who are capable of rational thought and decision-making skills at young ages.
  • Fathers are spending more time with children.
  • Less housework is being done.
  • Millennials get along with their parents and share their parents’ values.
baby boomer parents have been their biggest cheerleaders
Baby Boomer Parents have been their Biggest Cheerleaders
  • Millennials expect and need praise.
  • Will mistake silence for disapproval.
  • Millennials expect feedback.
  • 9,068 books were written about self-esteem and children during the 80s and 90s.
  • Yet, researchers say this generation feels disconnected, question their existence, purpose and the meaning of life. They want to feel valued and cared about.
millennials want to learn
Millennials Want to Learn
  • With technology
  • With each other
  • Online
  • In their time
  • In their place
  • Doing things that matter (most important)

Source: Achievement and the 21st Century Learner.

how are millennials doing in school
How are Millennials doing in school?
  • Teachers report that students are doing better academically.
  • The largest gains have been in math and science for ages 9 and 13.
  • Millennials have corrected a late 80s decline in writing proficiency.
  • Reading scores show modest gains through the 90s.
sat scores a twenty year reversal
SAT Scores – a Twenty Year Reversal

Millennials Taking SAT

Highest SAT Scores in 35 Years

college full time enrollments in millions
College Full-time Enrollments in Millions

First Millennial College Graduates Spring 2004 --- Peak Enrollment 2010.

Of the 5.8 million in college in 2010, 56% will be women.

  • Millennial kids:
    • Are used to a wide range of global viewpoints
    • Are tolerant of cohabitation, single parenting and extended families, different sexual orientations
    • Are accepting of diversity in both the private realm and public arena
    • Believe we may one day have a black or female president
  • Most popular college majors:
  • Medicine
  • Education/teaching
  • Business and marketing
  • Engineering
  • Law and politics
  • Computer science
  • Most sought after qualities in careers:
  • Idealistic and committed co-workers
  • Responsibility
  • Independence
  • Creativity
  • Most common job trends :
  • Seek security & benefits
  • Stay with company that offers a challenge
  • Multi-taskers
  • Change Careers

Source: Industry Week, March, 1998.

challenging millennials
Challenging Millennials
  • Millennials will change careers many times.
  • Retooling and recycling their skills and talents will become common.
  • With the right kind of challenge, opportunity, security and benefits package, Millennials are likely to stay with the company.
  • They will need to be challenged and provided opportunities for learning, stimulation, given direction and the ability to be involved in company decisions.
  • Millennials will create a new culture of work, characterized by more independence in the work force. Many of them will become entrepreneurs.
2004 research study
2004 Research Study
  • Central Piedmont Community College’s Center for Applied Research was contracted to do this study by the Workforce Development Board.
  • Student Populations Selected (N=1,521)
    • Millennials from UNC Charlotte (N=739)
    • Millennials from Central Piedmont Community College (N=410)
    • Millennials from Johnson C. Smith University (N=129)
    • Non-millennials (N=194)
    • Data collected January–March 2004
    • Focus Groups were conducted
    • An Online Survey was administered
characteristics they look for in teachers
Characteristics They Look for in Teachers
  • At least 50% said:
    • Enthusiastic about the course/teaching
    • Are fun to be around
    • Provide intellectual challenges
    • Have flexible class policies
    • Are sensitive to your needs/feelings
    • Emphasize preparing for future career
this validates the research
This Validates the Research
  • The research says they want:
    • To be trusted and respected
    • Teachers to act as helpers
    • Opportunities to be responsible
    • Freedom, not license
    • A place where people care
    • Teachers who help them succeed
    • To have choices
comparing yourself to people your parents age
Comparing Yourself to People Your Parents Age…..
  • When your generation is your parents’ age, will you take more, about the same or less interest in:
    • New Technology - more interest
    • Voting and Government - about the same
    • Reading and the Arts - about the same
what will you do after graduating
What Will You Do After Graduating?
  • Immediately get a job 43%
  • Continue my education 34%
  • Take some time off 5%
  • Marry/start a family 6%
  • Not sure 13%
career field
Career Field
  • How likely do you think it is that your first job out of college will be in your career field?
    • Very Likely 39.4%
    • Somewhat Likely 37.4%
    • Not Likely/Not Sure 20.5%
salary expectations
Salary Expectations
  • Realistically, what do you expect your starting salary will be when you begin working?


    • $15-20K 7.7%
    • $21-30K 29.3%
    • $31-40K 27.0%
    • $41-50K 15.9%
    • $50K+ 7.0%
    • Not sure 12.5%

Approximately 65% felt they would learn $40K or less

importance of career components
Importance of Career Components
  • Elements thought to be very important

Respected on the Job

Opportunity for Professional Development

Ability to Have an Impact on the World

importance of career components26
Importance of Career Components
  • Items thought to be somewhat important:

Access to Information and Expression of Personal Opinion

Having High Job Prestige

Working with Inspiring Colleagues

Geographic Location of Job

Receive Guidance and Direction from Supervisor

importance of career components27
Importance of Career Components
  • Items thought to be somewhat important:

Participating in Company Decisions

Independence/Professional Autonomy

Using Creativity on the Job

Lots of Responsibility

Flexible Work Hours

Dress Code Appropriate to

Work Environment

importance of job benefits
Importance of Job Benefits
  • Benefits thought to be very important

Health Insurance

Salary Growth

Plans like 401K

Life Insurance


Employer-paid Retirement

  • Benefits thought to be unimportant

Stock Options

Profit Sharing

jobs in lifetime
Jobs in Lifetime
  • How many jobs do you think you will hold in your lifetime?
    • 1-3 35.7%
    • 4-6 41.5%
    • 7-10 16.5%
    • Over 10 6.2%

64% expect to have 4 or more jobs

future odds
Future Odds
  • The following % felt it was very likely that they would someday:

Work for themselves/own business 21%

Have lifestyle they grew up with 63%

  • 79% felt a two income household would be somewhat to very important in reaching their lifestyle goals?
quality of life
Quality of Life?

Rank order of items that contribute to a good quality of life

(% ranking item in top 3 on a scale of 1-8) __

  • Having a secure future for my family 71.5%
  • Time to enjoy family/children 68.7%
  • Having family/children 63.2%
  • Having a great job 60.4%
  • Having good friends 55.2%
  • Having plenty of money 45.5%
  • Having plenty of free time 40.2%
your generation in the future
Your Generation in the Future
  • Someday, your generation will be raising kids, running corporations and occupying high political office. When that day comes, which areas of American life will be better, the same or worse than today because of your generation?
    • 3 = better
    • 2 = same
    • 1 = worse

Areas they felt they would do better:Technology Race Relations Areas they felt they would do about the same: Economy Schools Arts/Culture Foreign AffairsAreas they felt they couldn’t improve on:Government Family Life Religion Crime/Public Order

We’ve Asked Employers:What do you think will be the greatest challenge millennials will face once they enter the workforce?
they said
They said:
  • The level of technology in most companies.
  • The lack of flexibility within most companies.
  • Making them feel like they are doing “important” work will be a challenge.
  • Companies will have to do creative things (telecommuting, split shifts, shared jobs, etc.) to keep them.
  • Training will be the biggest challenge.
a questions for you
A Questions for YOU
  • Generation specialists are predicting a “clash of generations in the workforce.”
  • How will you and your company handle some of these generational differences?

For a copy:

Click on: Studies & Reports

Title: Millennial Presentation

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