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The Millennial Generation : A Blessing or Curse for the Workforce. Terri Manning Bobbie Everett 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. Economic Conditions Societal Norms

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The millennial generation a blessing or curse for the workforce

The Millennial Generation:A Blessing or Curse for the Workforce

Terri Manning

Bobbie Everett

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

Each generation
Each Generation Society to Raise a Generation

  • Consists of approximately a 20-year span (not all demographers and generation researchers agree on the exact start/stop dates)

  • Has a unique set of values

  • Reacts to the generation before them

  • Looks at their generation as the standard of comparison

  • Looks at the next generation skeptically “these kids today…”

  • Those born on the “cusp” may have a blended set of characteristics

  • They are either idealistic, reactive, civic or adaptive

Business today
Business Today… Society to Raise a Generation

  • Lives in a world created by generations who are (mostly, 95%) no longer working.

  • They were influenced by the military and created a workplace reflecting a hierarchy with a clear chain of command.

  • Employees worked hard to receive raises, bonuses and higher ranks. Higher rank (with the higher salary) was valued and envied by employees on their way up and held in high esteem by those at the top.

How generational births will impact retirements
How Generational Births Will Impact Retirements Society to Raise a Generation




Changes in that workforce
Changes in that Workforce Society to Raise a Generation

Who is working today
Who Is Working Today? Society to Raise a Generation

1,000 die per day

Youngest are 5 years old

Half the size of the generations on either side of them

7,198 turned 60 every day in 2006

Who are those generations
Who Are Those Generations Society to Raise a Generation

  • How have their early experiences impacted the workforce?

  • What values did they bring to work?

  • As generations change – does the workforce keep pace?

  • Let’s look at them…..

The veterans also known as the silent generation or the greatest generation 1925 1943 adaptive
The Veterans (also known as the Silent Generation or the Greatest Generation) 1925–1943 (adaptive)

  • Children of the Great Depression and WWII, this generation decided not to attack the institutions created by the generation before them, but instead, as global thinkers, they chose to focus on improving and refining them so that they could be good for everyone, not just a select few.

  • The overall goal was not to change the system, but to work within it.

  • While economically very successful, they were also the inventors of "the midlife crises" probably because they didn't get a chance to enjoy the freedoms of their youth.

The veteran generation childhood
The Veteran Generation Childhood Greatest Generation) 1925–1943 (adaptive)

  • Raised by the GI Generation (civic)

  • Large families (3-5 children)

  • Strong sense of extended family

    (same town or home)

  • Grandparents in the home

  • Average 10-year-old spent 4-6

    hours daily with a significant adult

    role model

  • Rural society

  • Apprenticeship businesses and


  • Perception of the world as “safe”

  • Core Values

    • Dedication

    • Hard Work

    • Conformity

    • Law and Order

    • Patience

    • Delayed Reward

    • Duty before Pleasure

    • Adherence to Rules

    • Honor

Work values
Work Values Greatest Generation) 1925–1943 (adaptive)

  • Loyal to employer (company man) and expect the same in return

  • Believe they should be rewarded for tenure

  • Work ethic = efficiency and hard work

  • Stable, thorough and detail oriented

  • Don’t buck the system but work within it

  • Uncomfortable with conflict and disagreements

  • Not change oriented

Marketing to them
Marketing to Them Greatest Generation) 1925–1943 (adaptive)

  • Faith in the government and national institutions

  • Want quality but believe standard options are fine (not luxury)

  • Loyal customers that follow the rules

The baby boomers 1943 1964 the largest generation idealist
The Baby Boomers 1943–1964 (the largest generation, idealist)

  • Divorce reached a low in 1960 of 9%

  • Families moved due to GI Bill, GI housing

    and industrialization

  • First generation to live miles from

    extended family

  • Family size smaller (2-3 children)

  • Few grandparents in the home

  • Moms stayed home, dads carpooled

  • Children spent significant time with

    adult role models

  • Perception of the world as “safe”

Core Values


Team Orientation

Personal Gratification

Health and Wellness

Personal Growth




Boomers at work
Boomers at Work idealist)

  • Value stability and respect

  • Like to see their successes

  • Tend to workaholism and have difficulty balancing their lives

  • Are competitive

  • See themselves as the standard of comparison

Boomers at work1
Boomers at Work idealist)

  • Ethic = long hours show commitment

  • Team oriented and relationship builders (don’t like conflict – can’t we all just get along)

  • Not budget minded

  • Sensitive to feedback

Marketing to boomers
Marketing to Boomers idealist)

  • Are individualistic so they like “customized and custom-made products”

  • Want to look successful (lots of stuff)

  • Seek self-improvement

  • Products/services that help them reach a balanced life (work/home)

  • Like technology but see the problems that come with it

The gen xers 1965 1982
The Gen Xers 1965–1982 idealist)

  • A Lost Generation… A Nomadic Generation…..

  • Half the Size of the Baby Boom (reactive)

  • Core Values

    • Dedication

    • Hard Work

    • Conformity

    • Law and Order

    • Patience

    • Delayed reward

    • Duty before pleasure

    • Adherence to rules

    • Honor

Generation x
Generation X idealist)

  • This is the conscientious, extremely pragmatic, self-sufficient generation that has a ruthless focus on the bottom-line.

  • Born and raised at a time when children were at the bottom of our social priorities, Gen Xers learned that they could only count on one thing - themselves. As a result, they are very "me" oriented.

  • They are not active voters, nor are they deeply involved in politics in general.

The gen x childhood
The Gen X Childhood idealist)

  • Divorce reached an all-time high

  • Single-parent families became the norm

  • Latch-key kids were a major issue of the time

  • Children not as valued – looked at as a hardship

  • Families spread out (miles apart)

  • Family size = 1.7 children (many only-children)

  • Perception of the world as “unsafe”

  • Average 10 year old spent 14 ½ minutes a day with a significant adult role model

  • Parents looked around and said – we need to do this better

Gen xers at work
Gen Xers at Work idealist)

  • Cynical and pessimistic

  • Want work-life balance

  • Think globally and seek independence

  • Like technology and want an informal work environment

  • Don’t want the boomers’ work ethic

  • Communication is important and talk to adults as friends/peers (not impressed with authority)

  • Believe reward should be based on productivity not hours worked

  • Want control of self, time and future

  • Loyalty to people not a company

  • Impatient with poorer people skills

Marketing to xers
Marketing to Xers idealist)

  • Can spot a phony

  • Peer to peer referral

  • Like technology

  • Like products and services with options

The echo boom millennials
The Echo Boom/Millennials… idealist)

  • The Millennials are almost as large as the baby boom-some say larger - depending on how you measure them (approx. 81M).

  • 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

Millennial values
Millennial Values idealist)

  • This generation is civic-minded

  • They are collectively optimistic, long-term planners, high achievers with lower rates of violent crime, teen pregnancy, smoking and alcohol use

  • This generation believes that they have the potential to be great

  • Will provide us with a new definition of citizenship.

  • Individualistic but like groups/teams

  • Hate drudgery – too boring

  • Ambitious yet aimless

  • Looking for a mentor (like mom and dad) not a boss

The millennial childhood
The Millennial Childhood idealist)

  • The most monumental financial boom in history.

  • Steady income growth through the 1990’s.

  • Still great disparity between races.

  • Saw their parents lose all their stocks and mutual funds (college funds) during the early 2000’s.

Demographic trends
Demographic Trends idealist)

  • Boomers decided to become older parents.

  • Xers gave birth at traditional ages

  • 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 changing diversity
Demographic Trends – Changing Diversity idealist)

  • Increase in Latino immigration - Latino women tend to have a higher fertility rates than non-Latino women.

  • Nearly 35% of Millennials are nonwhite or Latino.

  • Twenty percent of this generation has at least one parent who is an immigrant.

  • Millennials have become the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in US History.

Safety issues
Safety Issues idealist)

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

Major influencing factors
Major Influencing Factors idealist)

  • Their parents

  • The self-esteem movement

  • The customer service movement

  • Gaming and technology

  • Casual communication

Parenting millennials
Parenting Millennials idealist)

  • This generation is being parented by well-educated, over-involved adults who participate in “deliberate parenting.” They have outcomes in mind.

  • Boomers were the first generation to be thrown out in to an unsafe world as adolescents.

  • The 60’s and 70’s were very scary and many of us felt unprepared for it.

  • We were naïve and didn’t have enough tools in our tool box to deal with it.

Baby boomers as parents
Baby Boomers as Parents idealist)

  • Boomers rebelled against the parenting practices of their parents.

  • Strict discipline was the order of the day for boomers.

  • They made conscious decisions not to say “because I told you so” or “because I’m the parent and you’re the child.”

  • Boomers became more “friendly” with their children. They wanted to have open lines of communication and a relationship with them.

Baby boomers as parents1
Baby Boomers as Parents idealist)

  • They explained things to their children, (actions, consequences, options, etc.) – they wanted them to learn to make informed decisions.

  • They allowed their children to have input into family decisions, educational options and discipline issues.

  • We told them “just because it is on television doesn’t mean it’s true” or “you can’t believe everything you read.”

  • We wanted them to question authority.

The result
The Result idealist)

  • Millennials have become “a master set of negotiators” who are capable of rational thought and decision-making skills at young ages.

  • They will negotiate with anyone including their parents, teachers and school administrators.

  • Some call this “arguing.”

Helicopter parents
Helicopter Parents idealist)

  • Helicopter Parent (n)A parent who hovers over his or her children.

  • Or Snowplow parent: Parents who clear the way for their children

  • ……these (echo) boomers are confident, achievement-oriented and used to hovering "helicopter" parents keeping tabs on their every move. (Anthony DeBarros, "New baby boom swamps colleges," USA Today, January 2, 2003)

Baby boomer parents have been their biggest cheerleaders
Baby Boomer Parents have been their Biggest Cheerleaders idealist)

  • Millennials expect and need praise.

  • Will mistake silence for disapproval.

  • Millennials expect feedback.

Focus on self esteem
Focus on Self-esteem idealist)

  • This generation was the center of the “self-esteem” movement.

  • 9,068 books were written about self-esteem and children during the 80s and 90s (there were 485 in the 70s).

  • The state of California spent millions studying the construct and published a document entitled “Toward a State of Self-esteem.”

  • Yet they can’t escape the angst of adolescence – they still feel disconnected, question their existence, purpose and the meaning of life. They want to feel valued and cared about.

Focus on customer service
Focus on Customer Service idealist)

  • Expect access (24/7)

  • Expect things to work like they are supposed to

  • If they don’t “that is your problem”

  • They want what they have paid for

  • Everything comes with a toll-free number or web address

  • Want “Gateway Go Back” in classes

Add the impact of gaming
Add the Impact of Gaming idealist)

  • Gaming has impacted children

    • The game endings changed based on the decisions children made (Role Playing Games [Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Chronotrigger]) impacting locus of control.

    • Involves a complex set of decision- making skills.

    • Teaches them to take multiple pieces of data and make decisions quickly.

    • Learning more closely resembles Nintendo, a trial and error approach to solving problems.

Technology idealist)

  • 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 function in an international world.

Cell phone technology
Cell Phone Technology idealist)

  • They all have cell phones and expect to be in contact 24/7.

  • Not a phone – a lifestyle management tool

  • Staying “connected” is essential.

  • Communication is a safety issue for parents.

  • Communication has become casual for students (IM, email and cell phones.

Salary expectations
Salary Expectations idealist)

  • 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 earn $40K or less

Importance of career components
Importance of Career Components idealist)

Items thought to be very important:

  • Respected on the Job

  • Opportunity for Professional Development

  • Ability to Have an Impact on the World

Importance of career components1
Importance of Career Components idealist)

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

  • 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 idealist)

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 idealist)

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

Will we have a workforce shortage
Will We Have a Workforce Shortage? idealist)

  • Will the Boomers retire in droves?

  • Could see a 4-10 million worker shortage by 2010.

  • We don’t have enough well-prepared young workers.

  • Greatest needs in fields with advanced education such as nursing and education.

  • Also industries with mostly older workers such as the oil and gas industry.

Older generations make assumptions
Older Generations Make Assumptions idealist)

  • That younger generations will measure success just as we have.

  • Young worker must pay their dues and follow the same paths to success as previous generations.

  • The company ladder will remain intact.

  • Workers go where the jobs are.

Marston, Cam, Motivating the “What’s In It for Me” Workforce: Managing Across the Generational Divide and Increasing Profits, 2007

What millennials want
What Millennials Want idealist)

  • Ability to work whenever and wherever they want.

  • Variation on the job

  • Continual feedback from supervisors

  • Opportunities to learn, retool and reinvent themselves

  • Challenge, new problems to solve

  • To be in charge of their lives and future

Marston, Cam, Motivating the “What’s In It for Me” Workforce: Managing Across the Generational Divide and Increasing Profits, 2007

What they are not interested in
What They Are Not Interested In idealist)

  • Time-honored traditions

  • Doing things the way they have always been done

  • Paying their dues

  • How their managers got to where they are (rank)

  • A work ethic that requires a 10 hour day

  • Unquestioning loyalty to a company

Marston, Cam, Motivating the “What’s In It for Me” Workforce: Managing Across the Generational Divide and Increasing Profits, 2007

Change in values
Change in Values idealist)

Two youngest generations:

  • Define success differently

  • Their time is equal in value to money

  • Will pursue other rewards for their work

  • The company/corporate ladder has become irrelevant

  • View their predecessor’s experience as a warning, not a road map

  • Don’t value the rules of management, motivation and reward

Marston, Cam, Motivating the “What’s In It for Me” Workforce: Managing Across the Generational Divide and Increasing Profits, 2007

Skepticism idealist)

The two younger generations:

  • Have been given ample reason to question authority

  • Don’t believe their leaders tell the truth

  • Question the motives and truthfulness of institutions across the board

  • Invest their loyalty and trust in individuals and therefore, the right boss is critical (otherwise they change jobs, #1 reason they quit)

Marston, Cam, Motivating the “What’s In It for Me” Workforce: Managing Across the Generational Divide and Increasing Profits, 2007

What will it take for all generations to work well together
What Will It Take for All Generations to Work Well Together idealist)

  • A new understanding of what employees want from their jobs, bosses and workplace experience

  • A new understanding of loyalty and how to develop it (not through pay, promotions and benefits)

  • A new definition of self – young employees define themselves by what they do outside the job, not what they do for a living

Marston, Cam, Motivating the “What’s In It for Me” Workforce: Managing Across the Generational Divide and Increasing Profits, 2007

What will it take
What Will It Take idealist)

  • New behavior from leaders who realize younger workers enter the workforce seeking self-fulfillment and aren’t interested in “paying their dues” for an unspecified amount of time for a vague reward

  • Because young people are doing everything later – staying in school, living at home, getting married, having kids – this impacts their commitment to work

Marston, Cam, Motivating the “What’s In It for Me” Workforce: Managing Across the Generational Divide and Increasing Profits, 2007

Reasons us workers change jobs
Reasons US Workers Change Jobs idealist)

In 2006, 21% of US workers made voluntary

job changes for the following reasons:

  • Growth and earnings potential (30%)

  • Time and flexibility (23%)

  • Financial compensation (22%)

  • Culture and work environment (22%)

  • Benefits (12%)

  • Supervisor relationship (10%)

  • Travel and development (9%)

  • Management climate (9%)

Benefit News

Changing workforce
Changing Workforce idealist)

  • Workers are demanding the ability to balance their work and personal responsibilities.

  • Workers are not afraid of changing jobs.

  • The idea that the best way to grow financially and otherwise is to stay with one employer has been eroding to the point of extinction.

  • Younger workers and those earning $15,000 or less were the most likely to change jobs.

  • The cost of turnovers range from $7,000 for hourly employees to $30,000 for mid-level managers and $80,000 for technical or senior level management (Center for Workforce Learning).

Charlotte Biz, March 2007

How they will push us
How They Will Push Us… idealist)

  • More independence in the workforce

  • Consumer-based fairness

  • Better technology

  • Enhanced professional development

  • Get rid of “that’s the way we’ve always done it”

  • Have more life balance

  • Re-establish priorities

What we know
What We Know idealist)

  • Times are changing – in business and society

  • So – leadership must change

  • The younger generations are working in a different economy and business world

  • They have different values and goals


What can managers do
What can managers do? idealist)

  • Mentor their employees

    • About how the company runs, what makes people of different generations work well together. Teach people skills not just business processes.

    • Great leaders can motivate all people by balancing processes and people’s needs for the good of the company

Messages that motivate
Messages that Motivate idealist)

  • Veterans

    • Your experience is respected here

    • What has and hasn’t worked in the past is relevant

    • Perseverance is valued

  • Boomers

    • You are important to our success

    • Your contribution is unique and important

    • We need you

Messages that motivate1
Messages that Motivate idealist)

  • Gen Xers

    • Do it your way

    • There aren’t a lot of rules here

    • We’re not very corporate

  • Millennials

    • You will work with other bright, creative people

    • You can help turn this company around

    • You can be a hero here

    • We value independent workers

    • Your boss will help you succeed

The millennial generation a blessing or curse for the workforce

  • 2. Communicate with employees idealist)

    • Encourage them to develop trust with others and empower people to do their jobs. Ask for input rather than telling them what to do. Open communication reduces resistance.

  • Value their values

    • Want work-life balance. They value family and friends and want to work their eight hour day and go home. Older workers think long hours show your loyalty and productivity. Younger workers often get things done faster. They value efficiency and effectiveness and doing things faster.

The millennial generation a blessing or curse for the workforce

  • Focus on Retention idealist)

    • People leave for several reasons: older workers retire but younger workers often leave feeling unvalued.

    • Have strategies to retain both groups.

    • Older generations like monetary rewards, younger generations like time off work.

Questions idealist)

  • What are the greatest challenges you face with your team?

  • How have issues of diversity (age, race, gender, education level, etc.) impacted your bottom line?

  • Has anyone discovered “a great truth” in working with the younger generations that you can share with us?

The millennial generation a blessing or curse for the workforce

For a copy of this presentation: idealist)


Click on: “studies and reports”