What exactly is a Millennial? A Millennial is an individual that was born around 1980-2000 (depending on your source). You might have also heard of them referred to as Gen Y, Young Adults, Generations Next, Twenty-somethings, Echo Boomers and perhaps even others. I was born in 1985 and consider myself a millennial.
If you’ve heard of us Millennials and your not one, you may have heard some pretty damning things about us. There was the one that Time did back in may entitled “The Me Me Me Generation” written by Joel Stein. It still kind of burns me up inside when I think about it. That article is just one of many that have pegged millennials as lazy, narcissistic slackers. To be clear, I’m sure some Millennials are those things, but it’s unfair to say we all are. It would be like calling Baby Boomers are unable to understand the internet. Or Baby Boomers are workaholics that don’t care about their families.
I could talk all day about this, but I shouldn’t. There will be plenty of time for that in the future.
Why are Millennials so important? You’ve probably been hearing more and more about Millennials in the news. The main reason Millennials are so important is the sheer size of the group. There are more Millennials than Baby Boomers. Not all of them are adults yet, but there are approximately 80 million in the U.S. You may be thinking, “So what if they are so big?” Well, here is why:
By 2020, approximately 50% of all U.S. workers will be Millennials.
-US Bureau of Labor
You didn’t read that wrong. 50%. That’s a little over 6 years away. Millennials are projected to be only 36% of the workforce in 2015. With the Baby Boomers reaching retirement age at a rate of around 10,000 a day, that leaves many organizations scrambling to fill those gaps. There aren’t enough Gen-Xers to fill all of those roles, therefore we will start seeing many Millennials begin to climb the organizational ladder into leadership roles.
If I was a leader who’s company wasn’t discussing the above projections yet, I’d start asking questions. The Millennial revolution is underway, whether anyone likes it or not. Are you a Millennial? Gen X-er? Baby Boomer? Is your company discussing ways of hiring/retaining Millennials? How? I look forward to hearing your responses in the comments.