Recently, I traveled to Washington D.C. to learn more about radio at a seminar with the National Association of Broadcasters. It was amazing! I met some wonderful people who are very passionate about radio and TV and I learned a ton of valuable information about managing different personalities. Possibly one of the most shocking lessons came from an unexpected place- my classmates.
Through the course of the week, I was shocked about how many times I heard a variation of “millennials are the worst.” In fact, during one seminar, half the class spent 15 minutes on nothing but how lazy this generation is, how they don’t value anything, and how they are impossible to manage. I was shocked! I had never before heard such hostility toward a generation of people. It really opened my eyes to how millennials are viewed in the business world.
Fast forward to our marketing class the next day. Our lecturer had us group up and discuss where we need to target our marketing strategies. When we went around the room and presented, 75% of the answers contained the phrase, “we need to target young business professionals.” Hello, millennials!
According to the dictionary, a millennial is someone that was born between 1981 and 2004. Right now they are somewhere between 19 and 36 years old. So here’s my burning question- how can these industry leaders possibly hope to market to a group that they very clearly despise?
Here’s the reality of the situation: millennials are a powerful force. They represent the single largest group in the workforce. Here are a few statistics about millennials as presented by Gordon Tredgold, founder of Leadership Principles.
- 45% think a good paying job is a privilege, not a right.
- 48% of employed college graduates are working a job that does not require a degree.
- 92% believe that business success should be measured in more than profit.
- 64% would rather work a $40,000 a year job they found interesting rather than a $100,000 job that is boring
- 70% have friended their boss and co-workers on Facebook.
- Millennials actually stay at their jobs longer than Generation X-ers at the same age.
- 35% of millennials have started their own company on the side to supplement their income.
- 84% believe making a difference in the world is more than professional recognition.
So while we are being bashed for being lazy, we are starting our own businesses. While hearing that we are not motivated to work, we are working jobs that don’t require the degrees we have, starting new companies on the side, and staying at those jobs longer than the generation before. We may have different values than previous generations, but we do have values. Before you start bashing, just remember, we aren’t going anywhere.