Aaminah Sareé Foye
Words such as spoiled, lazy, whining , entitled and many more are just a few of the many adjectives most would use to describe millennials. The average public narrative surrounding millennials often sounds just like the opening of this paper. However, Being a millennial myself, I can accurately say that these assumptions are neither fair nor totally accurate. In fact, millennials have a lot to offer the world — and we’ve already begun to show what we bring to the table as our generation progresses. Some of the positive change going on across the country, and even around the world, is being driven by assertive millennials who are hungry for better lives for themselves and future generations. Millennials are incredibly focused and driven young individuals who have our fingers on the pulse of what is happening today!
Though historians differ, millennials are generally known as the first generation leading into the twenty first century, typically represented by anyone born during 1981 and 2000. According to the United States Census Bureau, The population for millennials is “83.1 million and represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population. Their size exceeds that of the 75.4 million baby boomers.” Millennials are sometimes referred to as “echo boomers” due to a major surge in birth rates in the 1980s and 1990s, and because millennials are often the children of the baby boomers. The characteristics of Millennial vary depending on an array of factors such as region, social, and economic status. However, this generation is generally known for their increased use and connection with mass communications and media. This includes platforms such as social media and digital technologies. Another mark of this generation is our marked increase of liberal views when speaking of politics, economics and government.
So what about this generation remarkable? Millennials have a striking qualities and a free spirited mindset that shifts the world in ways we have never seen before. One of the most notable assets about millennials is they are the most educated generation to date. According to a survey done by the Bureau of Labor statistics,” 34% of millennials have a bachelor’s degree”, which is the highest of any generation thus far. Due to the pursuit of higher education, this molds young adults into professionals who are qualified and equipped to master any task within their career field. In contrast, studies from Pew Research Center show that “about two-thirds of millennials ages 25 to 32 lack a bachelor’s degree. Millennial college graduates in this same age group earn about $17,500 more annually than those with only a high school diploma.”
As stated earlier, one main misconception about millennials is that they are indolent. Despite this stereotype, Millennials volunteer more than any generation before them –. In fact, a lot more. According to Philanthropy News Digest “When Americans under 30 were asked how obliged they felt to volunteer in 1984, only 19% of them said it was very important. When the same age group was asked the same question in 2015, 29% said volunteering was essential.” According to data “More than 70% of millennials volunteer at least an hour per year, and more than 30% give 11-plus hours to their chosen causes.”
An additional fallacy that is widely assumed is that millennials rely too heavily on technology. What most do not acknowledge is that most millennials grew up without advanced technology such as smartphones. In fact, growing up I remember having a huge desktop with slow dial-up connection and that’s how “advanced” technology was for me. With that being said, millennials were still young enough when the technology advancements began to progress. With this, millennials were quickly able to quickly adapt to technological advances as they came. What makes this so dynamic is that millennials are now able to connect with modern times in a huge mass media form. Being that this generation is the largest to date, being tech savvy is a target for consumers. While social media this can be our downfall by not being able to always sense what’s actually going on around us, we have utilized these avenues to market and promote our businesses. Having a close relationship with our phones can actually be good news for employers, as a study from Millennials and Entrepreneurship found that “89% of millennials who own a smartphone regularly check their email outside of the normal working hours.” Consumers use social media to advertise and become interactive with their buyers knowing that this is the language that millennials understand. Companies constantly market to millennials because “This generation cannot be overlooked because they have the combined spending power of over five hundred billion dollars a year.”
Not only does this make great assets to an for consumers, it also is a boost to those who are entrepreneurs. According to a survey from Bentley University, “67 percent of their respondents said they wanted to start their own business, while 13 percent said they hope to climb the ladders to become CEO or president.” Due to us being so literate in technology, we’re seeing more Millennials run companies and starting their own brands. One primary example of this is famous millennial entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg back in 2004 in his dorm room at Harvard University built an online empire estimated to be worth billions of dollars. “In 2015, 52,000 millennials followed in Zuckerberg’s footsteps and set up their own businesses before even graduating university, with a further 15% of undergraduates planning to set up their own company on graduation.” Entrepreneur and Engineer Nolan Bushnell said “the true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer” and this seems true of the millennial generation. Moreover, “a study, conducted in 2016, highlighted that 85% of millennials understand that entrepreneurship, while offering a chance to be your own boss and work more millennials, is at large, a huge gamble.”
Innovative love to explore creative pursuits and are not afraid of failing in the process to better their brand. They are impressively innovative and are constantly adding to the climate of the world today. For those who are not keen to the do it yourself company style, Millennials are the most sought after generation for jobs for employers. Due to being the most tech savvy generation to date, they can easily navigate new technology at an office, resulting in a more efficient workforce. They may even drive change in the workplace by staying on top of trending technologies and introducing them to older coworkers. “Moreover, a study, conducted in 2016, highlighted that 85% of millennials understand that entrepreneurship, while offering a chance to be your own boss and work more innovative, is at large, a huge gamble. Not only are millennials willing to take that risk in order to embrace more creative pursuits, but they understand the risk and are prepared to fail, learning from the process. Cultural and political climate, technological advancements, and global shifts have ultimately affected not only the types of jobs available, but also the way in which we work. We live in a time where working countless hours and constantly being overworked is glamorized as the way to becoming successful. Innovative like to challenge this notion while bring the idea of working smarter not hard to the table. Millennial entrepreneurs are driven by their need for flexibility both creatively and through the ‘way’ we work.
While the millennial generation is not as obsessed with getting a massive paycheck like past generations, we do value something more serious: Equal rights. Our generation has a bad reputation of being “cry babies” and “privileged” but this is again another fallacy passed along by our elders. In fact, millennials tend to be more liberal and use their social media platforms to promote the change they would like to see. According to a survey done at Pew University “72 percent of the under 30 crowd support gay marriage — as opposed to 54 percent of the general population.” When it comes to overall cultural and social values and ideology, younger Americans are the most progressive age group. This is a leap in the right direction because as we continue to take over the world, our attitudes will make society a more accepting place for all.
In conclusion, Contrary to the stereotype that millennials are slothful individuals who were born with silver spoons in their mouths, the vast majority of millennials are exquisitely hardworking and economically conscious just wanting to make their mark on the world. They wish to achieve all of these things while also caring about social and environmental issues such as ethics, rights, and sustainability. Generally, most millennials are career confident and obtain a desire to contribute and a thirst for flexibility in their careers. It is guaranteed that the most significant changes to our world are going on as we speak and will continue as millennials become the world’s future leaders. Millennials embody characteristics such as being tech savvy, diverse, connected and being activists for personal rights such as gay marriage and healthcare. While some consider us to narcissistic and entitled, the reality is that they want to make a difference, have a positive effect on our lives and push business forward not back. Millennials are having a positive impact on our culture, workplace and government and we should get recognized them for our efforts and gain support in order to help revive the economy and build a better world.