Eighties, nineties, naughties – but just how naughty?
Yes, those that did the coming of age thing around the turn of the century (remember that?) have now firmly established themselves as Generation Y. Why Y? Well, after, why this? Why that? Why? Why? Why? Why not?
Folk in the know (whoever they are) tell us it’s all down to the degree of exposure these Millennial whippersnappers have enjoyed since their relatively recent arrival. Exposure to what exactly? To absolutely everything, it seems. No one having had the whole word thrust under his or her nose (thanks to Google and a high-speed broadband connection) can possibly establish a deep understanding of anything and, as the saying goes, ‘a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing’.
Technology has delivered an encyclopaedic database to the Millennial masses. That, combined with the 24/7 online retail cavalcade and digitally delivered leisure extravaganza, has created a distraction-rich, time-poor environment spawning a scratch-the-surface intellect of breath-taking shallowness. Or has it?
If you’re a University Challenge or Only Connect fan then you’ll appreciate that there are more than one or two disarmingly bright cookies out there displaying near Turin-like mental agility and endurance. Could this be the new digital divide – and how should employers deal with it?
Technology delivers the opportunity for always-on learning with the library constantly open and the font of all knowledge forever flowing. Could it be that ease of erudition has created a unique group whose ability to absorb, manipulate and manage the information it’s exposed to is like something never witnessed before?
By 2025 Millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce. Their ability to use keyboard commands and communication to control work and home lives, matters of heart and head and the real and virtual worlds, between which they move seamlessly, borders on the uncanny. No longer is there talk of ‘work-life balance’ – today the burning issue is ‘work-life blend’.
With endless gratitude to ever-advancing telecommunications technology one’s ‘office’ now normally nestles, safe and sound, in a pocket near you. Everything ever needed on this seemingly infinite voyage of discovery can be found on your average smartphone. Defined by one’s device, if Descartes was plume-pushing today then ‘iPhone therefore I am’, would definitely be the statement du jour.
So it comes as no surprise to learn that, according to The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2015, the majority of the 7000 Generation Y-ers that were consulted want to work in Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT). Almost 40 % of UK participants shared the sentiment, with 11% of those interrogated shamelessly declaring their desire to toil for market leaders Google and Apple.
Pebble In A Pool
Millennials would have us believe that it isn’t just an employer with purpose they seek but one with discernible conscience also. Somewhat surprisingly, they are just as interested in the more philosophic aspects and socioeconomic implications of corporate life as well as profit and product. So, more cause and effect and less chaos – or at least, that’s the theory.
Employers are intent on attracting only the very best of this technologically inclined talent but it’s not an easy ask. To say our marvellous Millennials are ‘demanding’ is a statement truly underdone.
Possibly due to a boredom threshold so low it constitutes a trip-hazard, flexibility and balance top the list of every Millennial strolling through the Mall of Employment Opportunity. Sounding lip-lickingly like a classic case of ‘cake and eat it’, the search is on for the ultimate flip-flop job whereby personal life, affairs of the heart and online shopping can be attended to in parallel with one’s professional function. In exchange, Generation Yo-Yo is more than content to take work home, combine research with R & R and talk shop at the drop of whatever hat is being worn at the time.
Of course, one thing our marvellous Millennials are not is ‘mature’. Like cheese and wine, it takes time to achieve character and, of course, taste. With no maturity app’ on tap, the block’s New Kids have no choice but to actively seek out the older and the wiser with whom they can experience maturity by proxy. From an employer’s perspective, this coming together of sagaciousness and youthful enthusiasm is the stuff of dreams with old dogs learning something new, and young pups feeding on the wisdom of the wizened.
Dog Eat Dog
Continuing with the canine analogy, when it comes to management and Managers, in the world of the Millennial, only the strong survive. Those providing direction and enforcing discipline must have the ability to inspire, be emphatically empathetic and display strategic thinking of Churchillian proportion. Exposing (again) the inevitable self-centeredness of those raised in the new era of ‘Me! Me! Me!’, Millennials maintain an unwavering eye on the top-spot with over half of those surveyed harbouring entrenched aspirations to become leaders themselves. At best, this need to lead will manifest itself as ‘entrepreneurial’, at worst it will deliver demi-dictators that will distract and divide, making huge demands upon colleagues, managers and more besides.
Millennials, without doubt, have the capacity to be incredibly hardworking. Driven by an insatiable inquisitiveness and ‘can do’ attitude they are a formidable bunch, ready for anything and ripe for recruiting. With an understanding of the Millennial mind and a firm and steady hand, employers can benefit from the boundless energy, thrilling imagination and intensity of focus Generation Y can deliver injecting any enterprise with a new vim and vigour.
The Millennials have arrived – it’s time to take your pick