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Millennials: The Next Great Generation?

Introduction

It is not uncommon for an older generation to be disapproving or judgmental of a younger generation. The Generation Y, or the Millennial generation, a demographic cohort of individuals born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s, is no exception to the rule. Currently, the largest generation in the US, Millennials makeup 35% of the workforce and are now the driving force behind global trends, new morals, and work ethics. The changes are met with constant criticism from Baby Boomers that find fault with Millennials’ penchant for independence in the workplace and prioritizing causes over profits and increased sensitivity towards social issues. The older generation tends to interpret it as the characteristics of unruly, self-involved individuals, whereas others, the Millennials included, argue that these are desirable traits for building a brighter future. This paper aims at enlisting four reasons to call Millennials the next great generation and providing the relevant data to back up each claim.

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The Spirit of Entrepreneurship

Compared to Baby Boomers, Millennials start more businesses, start earlier, and employ more people. To define the new face of entrepreneurship on a global scale, in 2016, Scorpio Partnership Consultancy surveyed roughly 2,600 high-net-worth entrepreneurs from 18 countries and drew data that helped understand how the generations manage businesses. The “millenipreneurs”, the term coined by the study’s authors, started businesses earlier than their older counterparts, at 27 and 35 correspondingly (Scorpio Partnership, 2016, p. 2). A higher average headcount on primary business also characterized Millennial entrepreneurship (122 compared to 22 for Baby Boomers) (Scorpio Partnership, 2016, p. 2). Another defining finding is the total number of businesses started by an individual. A Generation Yer launched 7,7 companies on average as compared to a Baby Boomer whose count was steady at 3,5 (Scorpio Partnership, 2016, p. 2). An increased number of new enterprises, to which Millennials have contributed, positively influences the economy and is an impetus to creating new jobs.

Positive Impact Through Businesses

Furthermore, Millennials are not merely seeking profit but are also deeply involved with social causes which makes them carefully assess the impact they have on their community and in the world. In the newest 2018 report by Scorpio Partnership consultancy that encompassed 2,700 high-net-worth entrepreneurs, the authors discovered that 80% of the surveyed participants believed that they chose “the best way to have local and global impact” (p. 6). As for the ways they endeavor to bring about the change, they named job creation, safeguarding the environment, and inventing and implementing clean energy technologies. Moreover, 39% of entrepreneurs in the study started evaluating their success not only by the business’s profitability but also by their achievements in making positive changes (Scorpio Partnership, 2018, p. 6). Therefore, Millennials’ growing concerns for the world and even sensitivity do not hinder them from being successful but help them balance the desire for profit with the necessity for improvements.

Greater Tolerance and Social Progress

Apart from running businesses, Millennials use their interest for social causes to build a more peaceful, tolerant society. One of the key elements of such a society is respect for another person’s opinion. For instance, the General Social Survey showed that 77% of adults in the 2010s are not against anti-religionists publicly expressing their views. On the contrary, in the 1980s, only 67% would not oppose such occurrence (Twenge, Carter, & Campbell, 2013, p. 9). The statistics prove that Millennials tend not to castigate individuals with controversial views or the views they personally do not support as said individuals are entitled to exercise their freedom of speech.

Generation Yers are distinguishably more tolerant and accepting towards the minorities, be it sexual minorities or smaller ethnic or racial communities. Another example from the survey is a more unbiased attitude towards homosexuals. In the current decade, the overwhelming majority (85%) of adults agree that an individual attracted to the same sex can hold a teaching position. However, in the 1980s, only 58% of adults would see nothing wrong with such career choice for a person belonging to a sexual minority (Twenge et al., 2013, p. 8). All in all, a greater tolerance in the society helps citizens freely practice their rights without fearing discrimination and ostracization, and Millennials are contributing to social progress.

Philanthropy and Volunteering

What is even more interesting is that Millennials are not only supporting social causes by holding more liberal views but they are also donating to said causes. Whereas previously, the high-net-worth donors were the driving force behind the philanthropy movement, now it is regular citizens that have the desire to impact the community and the world in a variety of ways. It is not only financial capital that counts but also intellectual and social capital in the form of bringing the needed skills and giving the time of day to support a charitable cause. As Case Foundation’s Millennial Impact Report showed, in 2014, 84% of Millennial employees donated money to charity, and 70% donated their time (Feldmann & Hosea, 2015, p. 9). Although, as compared to Baby Boomers, the average yearly donations by Millennials are smaller ($481 and $1,212 per year, respectively), the observable positive dynamics are enough to conclude that the generation is gaining influence in the philanthropic space and is making giving to charity part of their lifestyle (Rovner, 2013, p. 6). This is another example of how Millenials’ self-assuredness that what they do matters leads them to accomplish good deeds.

Furthermore, Millennials do not always need an incentive to participate in community services as their motivation often comes from within. This claim may be backed up by the data drawn from the 2015 Millennial Impact Report. The study showed that 77% of Millennial employees were more likely to volunteer if they “felt strongly that their skills and expertise benefitted a good cause”. On the contrary, only 56% of the participants pointed out that the likelihood depended on whether they first received an incentive. 29% clearly stated that their passion for the cause brought them to volunteer (Feldmann & Hosea, 2015, p. 27). The data shows that Millennials have a high awareness of the current issues and are intrinsically motivated to make a contribution to solve them.

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Conclusion

Every generation has its unique features. The social dialogue encourages just criticism as well as an objective assessment of each generation’s defining attributes. Thus, Millennials’ independence and refusal to adhere to the status quo may be seen as a source for entrepreneurial initiatives which, in turn, benefit the economy. The generation’s heightened social awareness is a great incentive to take any action and support causes one strongly believes in, investing time, skills, and money. It also helps Millennials set their priorities straight in the interconnected world were having a positive impact is as crucial as making a profit, and being open-minded is as important as standing one’s ground.

References

Feldmann, D., & Hosea, J. (2015). Cause, influence, and the next generation workforce: The 2015 Millennial impact report. Web.

Rovner, M. (2013). The next generation of American giving the charitable habits of generations Y, X, Baby Boomers, and Matures. Web.

Scorpio Partnership. (2016). BNP Paribas global entrepreneur report. Understanding the pursuit of success. Web.

Scorpio Partnership. (2018). BNP Paribas global entrepreneur report. Today’s elite entrepreneurs: Searching for positive impact. Web.

Twenge, J. M., Carter, N. T., & Campbell, W. K. (2015). Time period, generational, and age differences in tolerance for controversial beliefs and lifestyles in the United States, 1972–2012. Social Forces, 94(1), 1-21.

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