The tech-wielding, social media-savvy millennial workforce has arrived in full force, and with it, new ideologies, new expectations, and new ways of doing business. Millennials – defined as people born after 1980 – are entering and molding workplaces all around the globe, and while the popular narrative has them pegged with unbefitting labels like lazy, entitled and impatient, many have begun to swat away the negative stereotypes and proffer a more realistic look at what was handed over to the millennial generation on a not-so-silver platter: a post-recession job market.
Sure, generations before had eyes for the housing market, early marriage and long-term employment within a single given company, but the millennial generation – or NewGens – have strayed away from the early economic patterns to instead forge paths entirely of their own accord, and much to the dismay of Baby Boomers, Gen Y and the like.
Today’s talent pool, one that makes up a whopping 35 percent of the modern workforce, has eyes for entrepreneurship, work-life balance and a savviness for tech, data and digital tools. Common critique assumes those attributes subsequent directly into laziness, entitlement or indifference, but that isn’t necessarily the case.
“We grew up in a digital space, so I think we have a sort of intuition when it comes to tech,” said Camille Hanish-Oakes, producer for Gravity Roads. “Growing up with the internet, there’s definitely benefits. Everything is much quicker and easier, but from a personal perspective, it can be hard being on all of the time.”
Hanish-Oakes says having the expertise when it comes to the internet, social media and tech is what often makes the NewGen talent pool so desirable to employers, and that a lot of the negative criticism about the general millennial population comes down to an initiation of sorts.
“I think a lot of what’s said about the millennial generation can be looked at as a rite of passage. You just tend to look at the generation below you in a different way.”
The millennial marketplace undoubtedly has a greater sense of movement than most other generations, as can be expected when hurdles like crippling student debts, steep housing markets and changing industry standards now accompany today’s “real world.”
In a 2016 Gallup study, millennials were pegged the “job-hopping generation,” citing that 21 percent of NewGens say they’ve switched jobs in the past year, and that only half of the millennial age group say they intend to work at their current company one year from now.
For most millennials, however, the need to change job roles and rethink career paths is often warranted. Many say finding the right job – one with a sense of purpose and one worth investing time in (among the top priorities for the NewGen workforce) – takes more than the few months between college graduation and entering the real world.
“I know that there’s a conception that we all want to move around a lot and that we won’t stay in a job more than a few years, whereas previous generations spent lifetimes in a company,” said Natasha Wigoder, a creative with Gravity Road. “I’m not sure I agree; I think it’s entirely dependent on personality type.”
Wigoder explains one of the most pertinent challenges NewGens face today boils down to a “conflict of expectation and reality.”
“We’re told when we’re younger through our contemporary media that we can do anything and have everything and that we should love our jobs,” Wigoder said. “But ultimately, it is a privilege to do a job that you love. We have unrealistic expectations.”
By and by the modern millennial workforce has proven movement is result of refusing to “fill a slot in a faceless company,” and instead searching for opportunities to make an impact with an equally impactful business. According to a recent article by Forbes, studies have found that 64 percent of millennials say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place, 88 percent prefer a collaborative culture over a competitive one, and 88 percent want a balance which permits work and life to blend together.
Still, like earlier generations, NewGens understand the concept of starting small but dreaming big. While they continue to seek out companies that prioritize different elements of work life than the generations before, concepts like hard work, patience and perseverance aren’t lost on young professionals.
“There are so many people who want to be in this world, it’s not as easy as you think. You have to work for it. You have to start at the bottom and you have to work your way up,” Hanish-Oakes said. “Get involved in stuff, go do stuff on your own time. Shoot your own films, write your own scripts, people really look out for that in the hiring process.”
Wigoder notes the importance of building and establishing connections early on in a career. Networking in face-to-face settings, such as during industry events like Advertising Week Europe, is essential, as is establishing trusting relationships with colleagues and peers.
“Make lots and lots and lots of friends. It’s so difficult to get a job, so any chance you have to meet someone that could possibly help you or give a recommendation is a chance you should jump at,” Wigoder said. “Don’t be proud.”
Advertising Week Europe heads to London 20 – 24 March for a week of thought leadership programming, networking and special events. To learn more about how to attend, and more about the all-new NewGen Delegate pass, head over to advertisingweek.com/europe.