Lately during my degree we’ve been talking a lot about millennials, or Generation Y as some of you might know it, and it’s prompted me to write about it (mainly because I’m one, and I don’t agree with some of the characteristics!)
As there are no exact dates for this categorized generation, you could be one too but not realise it! Most people tend to classify millennials as born in early 1980’s-early 2000’s.
So far so good right? Not quite. Although I do generally agree with generational theories and think they’re really, really useful to analyse consumer behaviour, there are parts of the typical millennial characteristics that I can’t agree with, because for me (being one, I’m biased) it just doesn’t sit right – their behaviour in the workplace.
“The millennial generation, now entering into employment, will reshape the world of work. Are you ready?”
Of course millennials will change the workplace – we’re graduating now as a new generation with a new upbringing, and are bound to have different priorities. But simple aspects of our ‘personalities’ like our ‘aim for equality and teamwork’ is one I find difficult to engage with. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that everyone’s opinions and ideas are equally important, but am I a strong believer in having no hierarchy in the workplace? No.
I don’t think Generation Y need special management techniques either – we’re taught how to behave professionally just like all of the other generations (if not more so), and yes we might stick up for our ideas more than our predecessors, but after all, everyone’s ideas are equal anyway aren’t they?
Despite my qualms, I do have a certain amount of respect for the theory – I think we are an extremely ambitious generation, and I agree that communication has played an enormous part in our lives (I am doing this for a degree after all).
Generational theories can be so useful in helping us understand consumer behaviour, and how to reach our public’s via certain channels, but do I completely agree with them all? No, they need to be taken with a pinch of salt!