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The Effects of the Millennial Generation on Higher Education and the Workforce. Central Piedmont Community College Center for Research Services Bobbie Fields Terri Manning CCPRO/NCAIR/SCAIR February 2004. A Study Funded by the Workforce Development Board. Some Say More Numerous….

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The effects of the millennial generation on higher education and the workforce l.jpg

The Effects of the Millennial Generation on Higher Education and the Workforce

Central Piedmont Community College

Center for Research Services

Bobbie Fields

Terri Manning


A Study Funded by the Workforce Development Board

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Some Say More Numerous…

  • As the Baby Boomers begin to swell to the ranks of 50 something’s, look for a bulge at the other end of the spectrum -The Millennials.

  • The Millennials are almost as large as the baby boom -some say larger- depending on how you measure it.

  • Demographers vary on exactly when the millennial cohort begins and ends.

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The Echo Boom/Millennials…

  • Much is expected of the children born between 1982 and 2000, a cohort variously called :

Echo Boom

Generation Y


Net Generation

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DemographicExplanations for the ‘Echo Boom’

  • The Baby Boomers had a “bounty” of babies…

    -Choosing to become older parents in the 1980s

  • Gen X moms reverted back to the earlier birth-age norm

  • The ‘echo boom’ can be compared to the original baby boom in that most generations were having babies

  • The baby boom is attributed to economic and military crises that caused GI’s to delay having their babies, whereas a cultural upheaval caused the Boomers to delay having their (Millennial) babies

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Demographic Explanations (cont.)

  • In 1989 29 percent of the 4. 4 million live births were to women aged 30 and older.

  • Birth rates among some age groups continued rising after baby boomlet peaked in 1990

  • From 1981 to 1997 the fertility rate of women aged 45-49 rose by 88%.

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Demographic Trends

  • Millennials have older parents - average age of mothers at birth at an all time high of 27 in 1997

  • Smaller families

  • More firstborns - only children will comprise about 10% of population

  • 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

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Demographic TrendsDiversity

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

  • Nearly 35% of Millennials are nonwhite or Latino.

  • Latinos of all backgrounds are the largest minority group (16%) followed by blacks (14%) making this the first generation in US history in which blacks are no longer the largest of all racial and ethnic minorities.

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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 of 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

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Each generation is not a linear extension of the one before

Each generation is shaped by the events and culture into which it is born

Each generation approaches life stages in different ways

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When Generations Collide…

  • Suggests that a fundamental challenge that American businesses face is the generational collision, leading to hiring challenges, skyrocketing turnover rates, communication “conundrums”, “plummeting morale” caused by generational conflicts in the workplace.

  • For Example- Generational issues influence how we would want to handle company policies and procedures. Unless all the generations are included in the discussion, some people may be treated unfairly. It’s important to know that you’re being responsive and fair to everyone’s needs.

  • Today there are four distinct generations glaring at one another from across the conference table, and the potential for conflict and confusion has never been greater.

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The Veterans 1922-1943

Core Values


Hard Work


Law and Order


Delayed Reward

Duty Before Pleasure

Adherence to Rules


Important Events

Lindbergh Completes First Transatlantic Flight

Stock Market Crashes


The New Deal

Social Security

Pearl Harbor

FDR Dies

Korean War

Cultural Memorabilia

Kewpie Dolls, Mickey Mouse, Flash Gordon, Radio, Wheaties,

Tarzan, Jukeboxes, Blondie, The Lone Ranger, McCarthy

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The Baby Boomers 1943-1960

Core Values


Team Orientation

Personal Gratification

Health and Wellness

Personal Growth




Important Events

Rosa Parks

First Nuclear Power Plant

The Civil Rights Act

Cuban Missile Crisis

John Glen

Martin Luther King Leads March on Washington, D.C.

President John Kennedy Assassinated

National Organization for Women Founded

Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy Assassinated

Cultural Memorabilia

“The Ed Sullivan Show”, Fallout Shelters, Poodle Skirts and Pop

Beads, Slinkies, TV Dinners, Hula Hoops,The Peace Sign, “Laugh In”

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The Gen Xers 1960-1982

Core Values


Hard Work


Law and Order


Delayed reward

Duty before pleasure

Adherence to rules


Important Events

Women’s Liberation Protests

Watergate Scandal

Energy Crisis Begins

Tandy and Apple Market PCs

Mass Suicide in Jonestown

Three Mile Island

US Corporations begin Massive Layoffs

Iran Hostage Crisis

John Lennon Shot and Killed

Ronald Reagan Inaugurated

Challenger Disaster

Exxon Valdez Oil Tanker Spill

Rodney King Beatings Videotaped

Cultural Memorabilia

“The Brady Bunch”, Pet Rocks, Platform Shoes, “The Simpsons”, “Dynasty”, ET, Cabbage Patch Dolls

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Millennials-What Are The Defining Moments?

  • Columbine

  • War in Kosovo

  • Oklahoma City Bombing

  • Princess Diana’s Death

  • Clinton Impeachment Trial

  • OJ Simpson Trial

  • Rodney King Riots

  • Lewinsky Scandal

  • Fall of Berlin Wall

  • McGuire-Sosa Homer Derby

In the Virginia statewide poll of 655 members of Class 2000, events that made the biggest impact or impression on the class of 2000 (Millennials):

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Important Economic Events

 The Millennial childhood coincides with the most “monumental” financial boom in history

- Unemployment and inflation rates fell to historical lows not seen since the early 1960’s

 Millennials have the best-educated moms in US history

 Millennials wish their parents were not so stressed out about work

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Buying Power

Their combined disposable income will be …

$302 Billion

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The election crisis of 2000 produced strong feelings about the need for political reform:

  • Millennials will vote more

  • Believe there should be a uniform and consistent method to count votes

  • They are confident and civic minded and will use their confidence to influence society in largely positive ways

  • Concerned with the political leadership

  • Agreed that their vote matters

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Millennials Want to Learn

  • With technology

  • With each other

  • Online

  • In their time

  • In their place

  • Doing things that matter

Source: Achievement and the 21st Century Learner

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Teen Views of School

























School work is meaningful

Courses are interesting

School will be important in later life

Source: The Condition of Education 2002, National Center for Education Statistics

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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

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Parental Care in the Millennial era

  • Today’s typical family is spending more not less time with kids

  • Smaller families means more time with each child

  • Fathers are spending more time with children

  • Less housework is being done

  • There is a strong connection between the social lives of parents and kids

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Think it is cool

to be smart

Get along with their parents


Share their parents


Source: Millennials Rising: the Next Great Generation

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  • Diversity prevails: Millennial kids are used to a wide range of global viewpoints

  • Tolerant of cohabitation, single parenting and extended families; different sexual orientations

  • Attitudes reflect an interest in and acceptance of diversity in all areas of life in the private realm and public arena

  • Belief the possibility exists for a black president in the next 20 years (50% of students in 2001 Lifestyle and Media Monitor) and 58 percent think there will be a female president

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Here’s What Millennials See in the Adult World

  • Lifestyle fragmentation- they see a lot of splintering in politics, the media, sports, and fashions. They are interested in “niche” groups that focus on a race, sex, religion, ideology, occupation, or hobby.

  • Geographic fragmentation- “edge cities”, springing up around new work and shopping areas.

  • Racial and ethnic fragmentation-multi-culturalism has entirely displaced assimilation as a national goal. (p105) They are observing schools phasing out integration plans. School integration has begun to reverse.

  • Income fragmentation- Aware of the growing gap between rich and poor. The gap between those living in struggling families and those living in prospering families has widened. Growing income inequality is reflected in rich and poor school districts.

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Millennials In the Workplace

Diversity: They will demand and expect that the workforce be diverse and will be attracted to companies that genuinely attract diverse groups of people from all over the world.

They will not limit diversity to just race, ethnicity, or even gender, but will define and expand the meaning of diversity by “thinking style, educational background, geographic location, generation, lifestyle, avocation, sexual orientation, work experience and more”.

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  • 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

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True Multi-taskers

  • Millennials have lived programmed lives that make them true multi-taskers. They are already quite capable of learning several jobs simultaneously and performing them admirably.

  • “Futurists” predict that Millennials will change careers as many as ten times. That means retooling, recycling their skills and talents. Smart employers will recognize this and try to encourage Millennials to try out different careers within the same company.

  • With the right kind of challenge, opportunity, security, and benefit package, Millennials are likely to stay with the company.

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Work Atmosphere

  • Millennials expect to work and have fun at the same time…they expect work to be fun

  • They have witnessed their baby boom

    parents coming home from stressed

    jobs, exhausted, falling asleep at the

    dinner table and don’t want that for themselves

  • Employers need to instill a sense of play and fun in the work atmosphere. It helps morale and employees get to know each other better

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Flexible Schedules

  • Millennials are the most scheduled generation ever and successful employers will have to find ways to offer flexible scheduling

  • Employers have learned from the booming service sector, where Millennials are working while in school, that flex scheduling is needed if you want to retain Millennials and get them to show up for work

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Challenging Millennials

  • In the eyes of the Millennials, the opportunity to pursue parallel careers might be the characteristic that attracts them to the company.

  • Changing jobs is something that Millennials will see as a natural process and part of their daily schedules. They might work in accounting 3 days a week and marketing the other 2.

  • The challenge in retaining them will be in challenging them and providing learning, direction, stimulation and the ability to be involved.

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Baby Boomer Parents Have Been Their Biggest Cheerleaders

  • Millennials expect and need praise

  • Will mistake silence for disapproval

  • Millennials expect feedback

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Orienting Millennials

  • It needs to be communicated to them how their work fits into the future scheme of the company.

  • Training Millennials with their multitasking skills and technological savvy will push training to new levels of technology and fun at the same time.

  • Millennials will respond well to experiential learning where they are allowed to come up with their own solutions.

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  • Possible contributions to the economy and society

  • The echo boom is 80 million people strong, displays a strong work ethic, and is technologically savvy

  • Millennials will create a new culture of work, characterized by more independence in the work force

  • Many of them will become entrepreneurs

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2004 Research Study

  • Central Piedmont Community College’s Center for Research Services was contracted to do this study by the Workforce Development Board.

  • Student Populations Selected (N=998 so far)

    • UNC-Charlotte (N=581)

    • Central Piedmont Community College (N=385)

    • Johnson C. Smith University (data being collected now)

    • Data Collected During January/February 2004

    • Focus Groups Were Conducted

    • An Online Survey Was Administered

    • Results Presented are Preliminary

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Demographics of Sample

  • White (n=725)

  • Black/African American (n=184)

  • Hispanic/Latino (n=45)

  • Asian/Pacific Islander (n=60)

  • Native American/Alaskan (n=23)

  • Other (n=56)

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Age of Parents

  • Father Mean = 49.8 Range 36-75

    50% were over 50

  • Mother Mean = 47.4 Range 35-74

    34% were over 50

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What Do You Look For in Faculty

Percent Who Agree

  • Enthusiastic About the Course/Teaching 88.0%

  • Are Fun To Be Around 81.4%

  • Provide Intellectual Challenges 67.9%

  • Have Flexible Class Policies 63.0%

  • Are Sensitive to Your Needs/Feelings 62.1%

  • Emphasize Preparing for Future Career 56.3%

  • Emphasize Living up to Moral Principles 39.3%

  • Are Likely to Talk About Politics 14.3%

  • Are Strict/Hard Graders 5.5%

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Working in Teams

  • How do you feel about working in teams?

    • I like it 43.8%

    • Have no feelings about it 26.0%

    • I don’t like it 30.2%

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Working in Teams

  • In the classroom, do you do the following? 1 = never

    2 = rarely

    3 = sometimes

    4 = often

    Mean (sd)

    Study/do research in teams 2.65 (.80)

    Write papers/do projects with others 2.62 (.79)

    Are given “team grades” on working

    with others 2.39 (.89)

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Comparing Yourself to People Your Parents Age…..

  • When your generation is your parents’ age, will you take more (3), about the same (2) or less interest (1) in:


    • New Technology 2.64

    • Voting and Government 2.25

    • Reading and the Arts 2.18

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Careers They Plan to Pursue (most selected of 27 listed)

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Career Field

  • How likely do you think it is that your first job out of college will be in your career field?

    • Very Likely 43.7%

    • Somewhat Likely 36.0%

    • Not Likely 13.3%

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Salary Expectations

  • Realistically, what do you expect your starting salary will be when you begin working?

    • $15-20K 6.8%

    • $21-30K 31.1%

    • $31-40K 26.2%

    • $41-50K 16.3%

    • $50K+ 8.1%

    • Not sure 11.0%

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Importance of Career Components

  • How important are the following components to your career? 1 = not important

    2 = somewhat important 3 = very important

    mean (sd)

    Being Respected on the Job 2.85 (.39)

    Opportunity for Prof. Development 2.76 (.47)

    Ability to Have an Impact on the World 2.56 (.60)

    Access to Information and Expression of

    Personal Opinion 2.49 (.61)

    Working with Inspiring Colleagues 2.40 (.64)

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Importance of Career Components

  • How important are the following components to your career? 1 = not important

    2 = somewhat important 3 = very important

    mean (sd)

    Having High Job Prestige 2.39 (.67)

    Geographic Location of Job 2.39 (.65)

    Independence/Professional Autonomy 2.37 (.57)

    Participating in Company Decisions 2.37 (.62)

    Receive Guidance and Direction from Supervisor 2.36 (.66)

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Importance of Career Components

  • How important are the following components to your career? 1 = not important

    2 = somewhat important 3 = very important

    mean (sd)

    Using Creativity on the Job 2.36 (.67)

    Lots of Responsibility 2.22 (.56(

    Flexible Work Hours 2.22 (.57)

    Dress Code Appropriate to Work Environment 2.04 (.72)

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Importance of Job Benefits

  • How important are the following benefits?

    1 = not important

    2 = somewhat important 3 = very important

    mean (sd)

    Health Insurance 2.89 (.34)

    Salary Growth 2.89 (.35)

    Plans like 401K 2.74 (.50)

    Life Insurance 2.74 (.50)

    Bonuses 2.65 (.52)

    Employer-paid Retirement 2.55 (.56)

    Stock Options 2.21 (.70)

    Profit Sharing 2.12 (.61)

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Jobs in Lifetime

  • How many jobs do you think you will hold in your lifetime?

    • 1-3 32.6%

    • 4-6 42.2%

    • 7-10 17%

    • Over 10 8.2%

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  • How much do you worry about:

    1 = not at all

    2 = occasionally

    3 = frequently

    mean (sd)

    Future Plans 2.49 (.59)

    Finding a Job to Fulfill your Goals

    and Aspirations 2.36 (.68)

    Money to Travel/for Hobbies 2.37 (.69)

    Life After College 2.35 (.66)

    Financial Debt 2.24 (.75)

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  • How much do you worry about:

    1 = not at all

    2 = occasionally

    3 = frequently

    mean (sd)

    Home Ownership 2.23 (.72)

    Paying Monthly Bills 2.18 (.74)

    Transitioning to Life After College 2.03 (.74)

    Relationships After College 2.03 (.74)

    Finding a Job in Your Field 2.01 (.78)

    Being Penalized for No Job Experience 1.95 (.80)

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Future Odds

  • How likely is it that someday you will: (mode)

    Work for yourself/own business Somewhat Likely (37%)

    Have lifestyle you grew up with Very Likely (61%)

  • How important will a two income household be in reaching your lifestyle goals?

    Very Important (39.6%)

    Somewhat Important (37.2%)

    Not Very Important (16.7%)

    Not At All Important ( 6.5%)

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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) Mean

    • Having a secure future for my family (72.3%) 6.33

    • Time to enjoy family/children (69.3%) 6.18

    • Having a great job (60.1%) 5.86

    • Having family/children (63.2%) 5.84

    • Having good friends (54.6%) 5.60

    • Having plenty of money (46.4%) 5.08

    • Having plenty of free time (40.9%) 4.72

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What Kind of Community Do you Intend to Live In?

Predominantly Urban, Mixed Housing Style 22.4%

Suburban Community, Single Family Homes 40.7%

Rural Area with Large Lots/Open Space 29.5%

Other 7.4%

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  • Mostly important thing passed on to you by your parents?

    • Education 13.9%

    • Values 69.2%

    • Work Ethic 15.6%

    • Inheritances 1.4%

  • What will be the most important thing you can pass on to your children?

    • Education 17.2%

    • Values 74.4%

    • Work Ethic 7.2%

    • Inheritances 1.1%

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If Your Parents Leave You Money

  • What will you do with it?

    • Invest it 67.2%

    • Use it for living expenses 23.4%

    • Buy a big ticket item (home/car) 8.3%

    • Use it for entertainment or

      recreation, such as a vacation 1.2%

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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

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Will be better, the same or worse than today because of your generation?

3 = better

2 = same

1 = worse

Mean (sd)

  • Technology 2.91 (.33)

  • Race Relations 2.50 (.60)

  • Economy 2.25 (.73)

  • Schools 2.15 (.78)

  • Arts/Culture 2.13 (.63)

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Will be better, the same or worse than today because of your generation?

3 = better

2 = same

1 = worse

Mean (sd)

  • Foreign Affairs 2.07 (.71)

  • Government 2.01 (.68)

  • Religion 1.90 (.66)

  • Family Life 1.87 (.72)

  • Crime/Public Order 1.82 (.65)

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Findings generation?

  • The majority of millennials in this study were born to parents age 30 and older.

  • They like faculty who are sensitive, flexible and intellectually challenging.

  • They like working in teams but are not given a lot of opportunity to do so.

  • Their job expectations immediately out of college are not as high as previous generations.

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Findings generation?

  • Career components they felt were most important were being respected on the job, having the opportunity for professional development, having a job where they can make an impact on the world, having access to information, the expression of personal opinion and working with inspiring colleagues

  • They expect to have 4-6 jobs in their lifetime

  • They worry the most about future issues: Future plans, finding a job to fulfill their goals and aspirations, money to travel and for hobbies, adjusting to life after college and paying back financial debt

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Findings generation?

  • They expect to someday acquire the lifestyle they grew up with

  • They expect to have a two-income family

  • Security and time for family are they two most important quality of life variables

  • Values are the most important thing passed on to them by their parents and the most important thing they will pass on to their children

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Findings generation?

  • When comparing their generation to their parents’ generation, they feel they will be able to improve technology and race relations.

  • When comparing their generation to their parents’ generation, they feel they will not be able to improve on religion, family life and crime and public order.