I read this the other day: “[Millennials] are relatively laid back—until they feel they have been wronged… and then may quickly apply pressure to make big changes fast. They expect transparency and accountability, just as it is expected of them in the marketplace.”
I read generalizations of Millennials like this one pretty much every day. Millennials are lazy…inspired…entitled…tech savvy…etc etc…
I have yet to read a description of the Millennial generation that was based on any sort of reliable statistics. EVERY one of these generalizations are based on a limited point of view based on biased research or on personal experience and fail to take into account a number of aspects, namely socioeconomic status.
When marketers talk about millenials with these unfounded generalizations, they’re contributing to a highly inaccurate conception of an entire generation.
Even wikipedia makes unfounded generalizations, and describes Millennials based on studies performed solely in colleges.
My high school featured a very diverse range of lifestyles and socioeconomic statuses. A majority of the Millennials that I grew up with, do not fall under any of the stereotypes that marketers constantly apply to them. With that personal experience, I’ve seen first hand how inaccurate the typical millennial classification really is. I won’t base my argument on personal experience though…
Here are some stats from 2008 pulled from the United States Department of Labor:
- 68.6 percent of 2008 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities
- 56.8 percent of the nation’s 16- to 24-year-olds, or 21.3 million young people, were either enrolled in high school (9.7 million) or in college (11.7 million).
- “…about 6 in 10 recent high school graduates who were enrolled in college attended 4-year institutions.”
My class year (2005) had some similar stats, with 68.6% of high school grads enrolling in college. Many high school graduates go right into the labor force.
The false generalizations we hear about all the time are based on the Millennials that get their college degree or are in the process of doing so. The fact is, by basing your characterization of Millennials on this segment of the larger population, you’re making highly inaccurate assumptions.
Generations are too vast and diverse to justifiably apply characteristics to the entire population.
Tell a millennial that works 50-60 hour work weeks doing construction in the winter that he’s entitled. Or maybe tell the millennial facing jail time for selling drugs that they were “pampered” by their parents. I know a people in both situations. Do they represent the millennial generation? No, but they’re certainly a part of it, and shouldn’t be neglected when discussing the traits of our generation.
Thanks to Lisa Grimm, Dave Folkens and Chuck Hemann for their help in refining this post.