By 2020, nearly half (46 percent) of all American workers will be Millennials.
One generation got old/One generation got soul,” proclaimed the Jeffrerson Airplane in their Baby Boomer anthem, “”Volunteers.” Now, Baby Boomers find themselves on the opposite ends of another generational divide, this time with the Millennials with whom they share office space.
By next year, a projected 34 percent of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of Millennials. By 2020, nearly half (46 percent) of all American workers will be Millennials. In comparison, two-thirds of the workforce next year will be comprised of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, but that is forecast to shrink to 54 percent in seven years. Millennials will be groomed to fill leadership gaps.
But this is not a case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” A new report by Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina finds that Millennials have “unique competencies and perspective” that sets them apart from previous generations. Whereas the report terms Baby Boomers and Gen Xers as “cowboys,” who value working individually, and who view managers as experts, Millennials are tech-savvy and multi-tasking “collaborators…who crave team-based work projects and an unstructured flow of information at all levels.”
This, the report states, can lead to clashes in the workplace. Millennials, for example, don’t view their managers as content experts because they themselves are masters of the Internet universe. “They use social media applications like they were born to it—because they were,” the report states.
Further, unlike their individualistic predecessors, Millennials were raised under “heavy supervision,” the report observes. “They were driven to soccer practices, music lessons and T-ball games, and most summer days were spent at a carefully-selected camp. Their early (and constantly supervised) exposure to team sports has made them the best team players and collaborators in generations.” Thus, they are looking for coaching, structure, and motivation from their employers.
Baby Boomers and Gen Xers put a higher premium on income, job security and structure than do their Millennial counterparts. Millennials, on the other hand, place more value on a “sense of accomplishment” and performing “meaningful work."
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.