Millennials – Perception vis-à-vis Reality

Millennial at workplace

HR on Cloud, Performance Management, Recruitment

Today morning, one of my senior HR friends surprised me with an unusual statement that millennials have become synonymous with disruptions; are willing to change everything – technology preferences, regular workflows, business models and are adept at technology to begin with. He shared a video to make his point which is really worth a watch that discusses the generational differences in a very eloquent (rather hilarious) manner.

This is a very important lesson because millennials are projected to exceed the number of baby boomers this year. By 2025, they will account for 75 percent of the global workforce.

Why are millennials different from the baby boomers?

There are two key reasons which make millennials – a completely different breed of the workforce.

  1. They grew up in the era of phenomenal technological evolution. They are accustomed to have immediate access to vast amount of data, sharing ideas, instant communication and collaboration. This characteristic make them appear rather impatient.
  2. They graduated from colleges during the economic downturn, carrying huge educational loans. They saw their parents losing jobs and their savings. These bitter experiences make them more practical, careful and informed.

Perhaps they also live with chronic financial and job uncertainties and are not ready to wait for tomorrow, and instead want to achieve everything immediately.

IBM’s multigenerational study

On further research, on the “millennial” keyword in Google, I discovered a multigenerational study by IBM. This study is based-on the sample data of 1,784 employees from organizations across 12 countries and 6 industries. It studies behavioral patterns and preferences of Millennials and observes that millennials are no different from their predecessors.

career goals and expectations
Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers share career goals and expectations
Millennial priorities
Millennials’ priorities align with their predecessors
Perfect boss of Millennial
Millennials appreciate transparency and ethics, whereas Baby Boomers want a boss who solicits their views

Elance-oDesk’s study about millennials

I also refered to the Elance-oDesk’s new study, The 2015 Millennial Majority Workforce. This study is based-on the sample data of 1,039 millennials and 200 hiring managers.


According to this study, millennials are more agile, innovative and risk takers than the generation before them. The study also reveals that in next five years, hiring managers will be preferring freelancers. This is a very logical step because 79% millennials say that they would consider working for themselves in the future. Some other important findings of Elance-oDesk’s study are illustrated here in the following graph.

Qualities of workforceConclusion

Millennials are indeed proving to be very different for Leadership – so much so that there is both curiosity, despair and excitement as they have started occupying important positions in companies. There are lots of research on their behavioral patterns, engagement needs so and so forth. Studies of IBM and Elance-oDesk explain that companies and HR leaders are trying their best to measure the performance and behavior patterns of this new pool of workforce. You can track how the behavior of millennials is altering your workplace realities and focus on HR analytic tools to cross check your perceptions with absolute data.

TAGS: Employee Engagement, HR Leadership, Millennial Workforce

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