Many stereotypes about Millennials are merely… not true

A recent comprehensive and global generational study was conducted by PwC, the University of Southern California and the London Business School. It’s the largest sudy of its kind ever conducted (more than 40,000 responses, 300 interviews and 30 focus groups) and it looks into the aspirations, work styles and values of “Millennial”/”Generation Y” employees (those born between 1980 and 1995). I found particularly interesting some of the findings:

Many – but not all – stereotypes about Millennials are untrue.

Despite a reputation perhaps to the contrary, the Millennial generation have grown up not expecting their organisations to meet all of their needs, including job security. Despite a natural aptitude for electronic forms of communication, email and social media platforms are not always Millennials’ communication vehicles of choice. Also, despite a common perception that Millennials are not as committed or hard working as non-Millennials, the study effectively revealed they are as equally committed to their work

Millennials say that a strong cohesive, team-oriented culture at work and opportunities for interesting work—including assignments around the world—are important, even more so than their non-Millennial counterparts.

Millennials place a high priority on workplace culture and desire a work environment that emphasises teamwork and a sense of community. They also value transparency (especially as it relates to decisions about their careers). They want and need the support of their supervisors, and also want the chance to explore overseas positions. Non-Millennials express similar attitudes, but not to the same degree as Millennials.

Millennial attitudes are not totally universal, although there is significant commonality between the United States/Canada and Western Europe.

For example, Millennial workers in every PwC firm around the world aspire to have greater work/life balance. However, the issue is particularly important for Millennials in the more developed economies of North America and Europe and in the East region. Additionally, we discovered in a few countries that cultural norms can ‘trump’ Millennial views that surfaced elsewhere in the world.

While the same basic drivers of retention exist for both Millennials and non-Millennials, their relative importance varies.

Millennials have a greater expectation to be supported and appreciated in return for their contributions, and to be part of a cohesive team. Flexibility in where they work and how much they work is also a key driver in Millennial satisfaction. This view differs in importance from that of the non-Millennial generation, which places greater importance on pay and development opportunities.

Millennial employees are not alone in wanting greater flexibility at work.

Millennials want more flexibility, e.g. the opportunity to shift hours to night, if necessary. But so do non-Millennials, in equal numbers. In fact, a significant number from all generations want a flexible work schedule  so much that they would be willing to give up pay and delay promotions in order to get it.

The study is available here.

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