Forbes recently published an article about a study finding that Millennials place “money, fame, and image” as more important life goals, whereas goals concerning “self-acceptance, affiliation, and community” are less so.
Born in 1989, I fall into this generation and find the study, and others which label my generation “generation me”, or “generation stuck,” very troublesome.
Although attitudes towards Millennials vary by report, there is no question we differ greatly from our parents’ and grandparents’ generations. A recent Nielson study gave my generation yet another nickname, “generation C,” to reflect the connectedness of Millennials. As a generation we consume more media, socialize, and share more experiences through electronic devices than any other age group.
While this connectedness offers marketers more touch points to reach us, marketing to Millennials also presents new challenges. Forbes cites that 35% of Millennials distrust big business. In addition to that skepticism, Millennials tend to be savvier and more conservative with spending habits.
Perhaps the most positive attribute to come out of recent Millennial studies is our entrepreneurial spirit. CBS News reported that Millennials are clever multitaskers and self-starters. Although our entrepreneurial spirit is often praised, our work ethic is still questioned. 60 Minutes ran a story criticizing Millennials for thinking they can “roll into work with their iPods and flip-flops around noon, but still be CEO by Friday.”
Despite conflicting predictions for Millennials in the workforce, most reports agree that as a generation we provide new insight and creativity, due in most part to our education. Business Insider says that Millennials are on track to be the most educated generation in America.
The Pew Research Center recently conducted a study on Millennials, similar to the one cited by Forbes, but highlighting very different findings. The study stressed that Millennials are confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat, and open to change.
In a world that is ripe for some serious change, a generation armed with education, self-expression, and optimism might be exactly what we need.