What is a Millennial?



Hello….I’m A Millennial! Since you are reading this article, then you likely are curious about who is considered a Millennial.

Millennials are loosely defined as individuals born between 1982 and 2004. As of today, that would make anyone aged 12 to 34 years old a Millennial. There are a number of other names given to this age group.  The Generation Y (the generation following Generation X), the Echo Boomer Generation (kids of the Baby Boomers), the Net Generation (growing up with the Internet), the Boomerang Generation (many leave home but return to live with their parents), and the Peter Pan Generation (many delay the traditional rights of passage until later in life). All of these names are in reference to the same generation, the Millennial.

The image below shows the current and past generation names.

generation, generation names, millennials, generation y, generation x

What are the demographics of the Millennial generation? In the U.S., they are 60% White, 20% Hispanic, 14% Black, and 5% Asian.  Roughly 75% of this group is single and unmarried while only 21% of the group is married.  Only 4% have been married and divorced which is likely due to A) the young age of this group and B) the fact that many Millennials grew up in split parent households.

In a survey conducted on Millennial preferences, approximately half (52%) noted that the most important thing in their lives is or will be being a good parent followed by 30% citing a successful marriage.  Over 80% of Millennials view a successful marriage and being a good parent as the most important thing in their lives.  This shows that the Millennial generation is can be less career focused and more driven by personal and family goals.

Every 25 years or so the next generation becomes the dominant member of the workforce.  The most notable characteristic of Millennials in the workforce is the ability and willingness to move between jobs.  I credit this to the flexibility that retirement savings plans (401(k)s and 403(b)s) have and to the desire for work/life balance.  If the personal and family needs are not being met, then Millennials will move positions. They are able to move because the retirement savings plans are so flexible and they are not constrained by the company pension plans of old.

The downside to employers is that the attrition cost of Millennials is significantly higher than that of prior generations. The cost of replacing talent turnover is significant.  For organizations with over 1,000 employees, the cost is $300,000 annually. Clearly there is a financial incentive for employers to retain Millennial talent.

How are we Millennials to be retained and kept interested in our work? Management needs to provide regular feedback and recognize work accomplishments. The concept of financial rewards as the only incentive does not apply for the Millennial generation. 90% of Millennials feel that they deserve their “dream job”.  I think this why many Millennials are open to job hopping and look to create their own entrepreneurial opportunities.

Millennial, Statistics, Workplace

The Millennial generation often gets a bad wrap for being lazy or for lacking commitment to a job or employer. I don’t think these qualities are representative of the generation as a whole.  Every generational group thinks that the group or two before it aren’t doing things the right way.  I consider this the “get off my lawn” or “back in my day” mindset.  The Millennial generation is the first generation to spend the majority if not all of their life with access to the internet. With access to the Internet comes the ability to tap into information and knowledge from billions of people from all over the world.  All of this information shows how many different opportunities are available which I think contributes to the job hopping.  Why do one thing when you know there are so many experiences and means to gain new knowledge?


Comment below and share your thoughts on the Millennial generation.