Switching the Career Gears to the Millennial Generation

As the American population ages, the workplace is transforming in more ways than one. Those belonging to the baby boomer generation have been working all of their adult lives, but are now either retired or nearing retirement. Among the current generation of working baby boomers, one worry stands out more than most: the idea that retirement will not occur by age 65. Fortunately, baby boomers—those born between the years of 1946 and 1965—need not fret because according to govexec.com, this is not a reality. Indeed, by age 68, only 16 percent of baby boomers will be working full-time jobs while millennials will make-up 75 percent of the workforce by 2026 (www.govexec.com).

In preparation for the career world, millennials are obtaining college degrees and rapidly entering the workforce just in time for baby boomers to make their mass exodus out of the workforce. This is good news for both baby boomers and millennials because as baby boomers are reaching retirement, millennials are more than ready to begin building careers and step into vacant leadership positions once held by their parents and grandparents.

While millennials are eager to become career women and men, 24 percent of millennials feel as though their formal education has not prepared them for leadership roles in the workplace, which will be both a challenge and an opportunity for employers. Although employers will face the burden of having to train millennials to become leaders, employers may gain a competitive advantage because companies that can establish millennials as leaders should grow faster and more profitably than those that are more reluctant to place millennials in leadership positions (www.govexec.com).

As the above infographic shows, the millennial generation is relatively unconventional compared to the generation X and baby boomer generations because millennials have come of age during a period of major technological innovations and economic fluctuations in a globalizing world. As a result, millennials have adopted a set of different behaviors and have experiences unlike their parents. In the workplace, these behaviors and experiences are expected to produce new leadership styles and work environments. In fact, millennials are expected to cultivate greater employee engagement and retention benefits because they place a high value on mentors, leadership, and highly prioritize learning new things, which will make a huge impact in organizational success during this generational career transition (www.govexec.com).

The millennial generation is the biggest in United States history; boasting a population of 92 million young adults (www.goldmansachs.com). If companies want to succeed, it looks as though they will have to put great emphasis on leadership development programs, digital and technological training, employee empowerment, transparency and objectivity in performance criteria, and goal-oriented work.

Baby boomers will not be working forever and organizations will need millennials to dominate their industries by motivating excellence in others to foster and achieve long-term business success. After all, this is the millennial’s world and we are all just living in it.