5 myths about millennials in the workplace

By Nichelle Wilson

5 myths about millennials in the workplace

A millennial is a person born in the millennial generation. The exact dates of when this generation starts and ends vary depending on who you ask, but it’s typically between 1980 and 2000. This means that the majority of our youth is made up of millennials.

Unfortunately, this generation has earned a bad reputation in the workplace – people say they’re lazy or that they don’t want to work through low-level positions before being promoted.

What’s more unfortunate is that many of these prejudices are completely unfounded; in fact, according to many surveys, studies, and research, the very opposite is true. Let’s sort the myth from the fact when it comes to millennials in the workplace.

1. Millennials are lazy

It’s true that millennials generally don’t want to work the standard 8–5. Instead, they prefer flexi-hours where they can balance their work and personal life. Because of modern technology and an always-on culture, millennials tend to work more hours overall, being connected to company emails and work WhatsApp groups 24/7.

In addition, because of last decade’s worldwide financial crisis and economic inequalities, millennials are having to work longer and harder for relatively less money, often needing multiple jobs just to get by.

2. Millennials aren’t loyal

Studies have shown that people aged between 25 and 34 are spending the same amount of time at their jobs as the previous generation did at those ages, so this one simply isn’t true.

However, do keep in mind that in many modern jobs, the duties and functions of a position can change significantly, sometimes within just a few months. Because technology advances so quickly, people need to constantly update their skill sets to stay relevant and good at what they do. Often, if a company is not agile enough to keep up with these changes or refuses to offer skills development programmes, young people must switch jobs so they can continue to develop their skills to ensure they will still have a job in five, 10, 20 years’ time.

3. Millennials demand success too quickly

We all know the cliché – the recent college graduate walks into his first day on the job and demands his own office and parking space. Except this isn’t really accurate because millennials tend to define success very differently from previous generations. A study conducted by Bentley University revealed that 66% of millennials aimed to start their own business, 37% simply wanted to work on their own, and only 13% wanted to become the CEO of the company they worked for. This shows that climbing the corporate ladder is simply no longer as important for millennials as it was for, say, baby boomers.

4. Millennials want constant recognition

Surveys of what millennials value at work put this myth to bed. Having a manager who is fair and ethical is of the highest importance to them, much more so than receiving praise simply for showing up at work. They’d rather have a boss who provides open and regular feedback on their work, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative.

5. Millennials can’t make decisions on their own

Millennials are often accused of being unable to make a decision until they’ve asked for the opinions of everyone around them, but they do this less than those in Generation X, 64% of whom are likely to solicit opinions before making a decision. Baby boomers do it 49% of the time and millennials fall in between at 56%.

Millennials are the next generation to dominate the workplace and do certainly present different challenges and opportunities for companies. Being adaptable and dynamic themselves, millennials expect businesses to behave the same way. This isn’t an unreasonable expectation either – companies that are going to survive in the future are the ones that are versatile.

One of the best ways to gear your business towards attracting and retaining talented millennials is to have a solid corporate skills development programme in place. Get in touch with us at Skills College today to find a solution that will drive growth in your business and help to ensure success for years to come.

Sources: IBM; Pulse; Concordia