Don’t hate, appreciate. The FACTS behind Millennials.

“[…] how awful it is to be managing the extension, sort of, of the teenage babysitting pool.” This quote by Marian Salzman on a highly publicized CBS news article sent me for a tailspin; the kind of tailspin that makes you angry, but curious. Considering that the perception of my generation demands babysitting, I decided to look to the cold, hard facts from none other than the US Census Bureau as well as an official White House survey on the matter. I spent hours researching who millennials are and what the root motivators are of this generation at scale due to this simple fact that I am now 100% exhausted with my reputation being both negative and concrete before someone ever even meets me.  I set out to skim the surface of a subject matter that spans enormous lengths explaining what makes millennials, well, “millennials” and why the reputation has become so entirely skewed.

Millennials are those born from 1982 to the mid/early 2000’s and have become titled “the most diverse generation” in the US to date. There are approximately 83.2 million individuals belonging to this generation in the US, which makes up a ⅓ of the US workforce. The values that were deemed to be the highest priority to this age group include community-mindedness, work focus, equality, diversity/inclusion, focus on education, and family. After looking into WHAT is most important to this age group, one should consider the WHY. Research has shown that the contributing factors to what drives this value set can be attributed to millennials being brought up during the Great Recession, the onset of a technology-centric lifestyle, and diverse race/ethnicities within this group driving a push for equality in every sense of the word.

Coming up during the Great Recession has been proven by research to be a large factor creating an impact on our generation, which I believe most Gen X’s don’t take into consideration. Seeing unemployment skyrocket causing many to lose their homes, cars, and overall sense of normalcy has resulted in a greater investment in human capital amongst my fellow peers requiring “babysitting.” In lay terms, this means that more millennials are seeking higher education in order to make themselves more competitive in a job market that they were taught not to trust growing up. 61% of the 83.2 million millennials have attended college, which is up from the 46% of college degree earners of the baby boomer generation.

However, with more education comes more student debt. This is an arena that has a tenfold effect. At the end of 2014, students loans totaled ONE TRILLION DOLLARS in America. This, in turn, results in a higher wage for college degree earners initially entering the workforce, but also increases the wage gap between those who went to college and those who didn’t. What does more debt mean? Less ability to become homeowners and less ability to buy long-term assets such as cars. Millennials are becoming characterized by the need for flexibility. Less financial freedom post-college and graduate school, means that the housing market is becoming involved. People within this generation don’t have the means to lay down roots early on in life financially. WE’RE IN DEBT. To that end, millennials are getting married on an average of 6 years later than those surveyed in the 1950 census. Women are 26.6 years old and men are 29 years old, on average, when getting married.

More education, more debt, less financial freedom amidst higher wages, later average age of marriage, less home ownership, the list goes on. I do not in any way find these things to be a just cause for derogatory mudslinging, but simply a change of pace from the past where women stayed home and baked cookies all day. Change is not a bad thing, and Gen X and Boomers need to embrace the WHY behind what makes millennials, “millennials.” There are sound reasons that flexibility in work and a longing for education are so prevalent. Diversity is pushing a career drive like never before. Financial security is not something that most in this group know, unlike our older predecessors. Not wanting to put down roots at a young age should not be something looked down upon, but simply as something that is new and unique.
Personally, I want to travel, and travel everywhere. I want to be submersed in a career that allows me to make a difference and provide valuable results. I want to pour my able mind and body into making this positive change happen, which means no, I actually would not prefer to have children, a mortgage, or even a husband within the coming seasons of my life. I need to grow on my own and come into myself. I cannot do that with roots at 22 like the norm has been in the past. My longing to see this incredible world that God has created and my drive to use my unique abilities to advance society is not something that requires babysitting and is simply not sound reasoning to back a claim that millennials lack loyalty. Not only is this offensive, but it is ignorant as well. Don’t hate on millennials, hear them out. See where they’re coming from. Perhaps its you, Ms. Salzman, that needs babysitting. 

THE FACTS: 

WHO ARE MILLENNIALS

  • Born 1982-2000
  • 83.2 million (census taken June 2015)
  • More diverse than preceding generations
    • 44.2% belong to a minority race or ethnic group
  • 61% have attended college
    • Only 46% of baby boomers did this
  • ⅓ of the current labor force
  • Unemployment rate of millennials WITH a college degree: 3.7% in 2013
  • Unemployment rate of millennials WITHOUT college degree: 13.5% in 2013
  • “WORKING MILLENNIALS ARE STAYING WITH THEIR EARLY CAREER EMPLOYERS LONGER.”
    • Contrary to popular belief (?)
      • Do longer tenures with initial employers also mean longer tenures within unemployment?

OVERARCHING IDEALS OF MILLENNIALS 

  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Technology
    • Change in entrepreneurial abilities at a younger age
    • Change in communication methodology
  • Education
    • Push to stay competitive via large commitment to human capital
    • Increasing low-income students joining higher education circles
    • Millennials are committed to increasingly specific studies within college level education
  • More Education, More LOANS
    • Total outstanding students loans at the end of 2014: $1 Trillion
    • Higher initial wages post college graduation
      • Increasing wage gap between college degree earners and non-college degree earners
  • Exclusive focus on studies
    • Decreasing level of students working part time jobs
    • Decrease labor force participation
  • Healthcare
    • Correlated with greater health for the overall generation, greater financial stability, higher job satisfaction, and higher educational achievement due to not relying on employer providing health care.
  • Women gaining equality.
    • Millennials are a part of the official close of the education gap dating back to World War II.
    • Within every 1 in 4 millennial households with children, the mother is the sole breadwinner.
  • Millennials get married later.
      • Women: 26.6 years
      • Men: 29.0 years
    • Millennials marry 6 years later than the average age of marriage in 1950.
  • Less likely to be homeowners
    • Potential correlation with upbringing during the Great Recession
    • Increase in millennials living at home…
      • 1. Delaying home ownership until older.
        • Stronger tie with parents
        • Later marriage age
        • More education commitments
        • Debts
      • 2. Difficulties in the job market
        • Fears from the Great Recession
        • Millennials wanting to maintain flexibility
      • 3. Today’s tight lending
  • Millennials are moving to urban areas more quickly than less educated peers.
    • Issues of geographic segregation surrounded more and less educated people
      • “High-skilled” vs “low-skilled” cities

MILLENNIAL VALUES

  • Community- mindedness
  • Family
    • Closer relationships with parents
      • Mothers spend 60% more hours parenting today than they did at the time of a 1997 Gallup survey
  • Work
    • “Very important job characteristics among high school seniors”
      • “Interesting”
      • “Advancement”
      • “Earnings”
      • “Creative”
  • Women have similar aspirations as male peers!
  • Positive social impact
    • Small and large scale

Popular Beliefs, Quotes, Perceptions of Millennials etc.

  • “[…] how awful it is to be managing the extension, sort of, of the teenage babysitting pool”
    • Marian Salzman
  • “You now have a generation coming into the workplace that has grown up with the expectation that they will automatically win, and they’ll always be rewarded, even for just showing up”
    • Mary Crane

 

SOURCES:

  1. https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/millennials_report.pdf
  2. http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/

 

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