In six years, Millennials will comprise more than one-of-three adult Americans. In just over a decade, they will make up as much as three-fourths of America’s workforce.
Move over, Baby Boomers. In six years, Millennials will comprise more than one-of-three adult Americans. It is forecast that in just over a decade, they will make up as much as three-fourths of America’s workforce. A new Brookings Institution study suggests that this generation’s values “offers a window into the future of corporate America.”
Writers MorelyWinograd and Michael Hais find that Millennials’ “distinctive culture and approach to life” present a sharp break from the recent past that previous generations consider to be “an alien, even dangerously different, change in American society.” But their beliefs and behaviors “represent the attitudinal and behavioral future of America.”
What are those beliefs, behaviors and values? According to the Brookings study:
- 63 percent like their employee to contribute to social or ethical causes that they think are important (compared to 50 percent of older Baby Boomers)
- Millennials put an emphasis on corporate social responsibility, ethical causes and stronger brand loyalty for companies offering solutions to specific social problems
- They express a greater relevance for the environment
- They put a premium on experiences over acquisition of material things
Millennials have the ability to bridge otherwise disparate groups by building communities around shared interests rather than geographical proximity.
The Millennial generation has demonstrated its power over the course of this young century, first in influencing entertainment and fashion trends, and then in 2008 and 2012 with their pivotal role in President Barack Obama’s election and re-election.
A 2013 Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner study of Millionaire Millennials find they are more focused than previous generations on using their wealth to help others (45 percent vs. 31 percent of Baby Boomers). They are less likely than their older counterparts to be presently concerned with such issues as the political environment, prolonged economic downturn, tax increases and the national debt.
When it comes to the factors they consider to be the most important in their wealth creation, they are most likely to credit their education over hard work, as is the case with Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. They also give more credit than their older cohorts to inheritance, family connections and being in the right place at the right time.
A 2014 Millionaire Corner wealth level study of young Millionaires did find a demarcation between wanting to use their wealth to help others and weighing social responsibility as a factor in selecting an investment. More than twice as many Baby Boomers than Millennials consider social responsibility as an investment factor.
When asked why the comparative lack of interest, the highest percentage of respondents (80 percent) were Millennials and late Gen Xers who said that their investment objectives are purely financial. Nearly three-in-ten said that they believe corporations should do all they can to geneate a profit and less individuals use their investment returns for working toward social change.
As Boomers exit the stages of politics and corporate America, MIllennials are waiting in the wings, they are no less invested in success, the Brookings study states, but there are differences in how Millennials define success and the way they make decisions. The report cites Millennial CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who paid $19 billion for WhatsApp, a mobile messaging service with 465 million users globally. Critics said the price was too high. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum would tell investors, "Monetization is not going to be a priority for us. Zuckerberg focuses on things 5 or 10 years from now. So in 2020 or 2025, 5 billion people will have a smartphone and we will have a potential for 5 billion users to give us money."
Millennial business executives who "dedicate their future to changing the world for the better, and find ways to make it happen, will be rewarded with the loyalty of Millennials as customers, workers and investors for decades to come,” the study concludes. “Those that choose to hang on to outdated cultures and misplaced priorities are likely to lose the loyalties of the Millennial generation and with it their economic relevance.”
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.