8 Ways To Use New Gen Y Research To Connect With Millennial Employees

Managers everywhere have been contemplating the issues surrounding their newest workers. Millennials present an interesting and dynamic group of over-achieving and often entitled youngsters who are trying to prove themselves in today’s sluggish economy. Full disclosure, at 26 years old, some might place me firmly in Generation Y. However, my management experience has allowed me to explore generational relationships and commonalities at various levels. We here at The Grindstone have long been interested in Gen Y employees and their priorities. As we’ve reported, Millennial women value work life balance, whether they are planning on having a family or not. They’re an involved group of professionals with an intense belief that they can and should succeed starting at an early age. And, we’re fiercely entrepreneurial.

This information and more is highlighted in a detailed study at ForbesWoman  by Jenna Goudreau. Jenna looks at the top companies employing Gen Y workers and the job titles these professionals are most likely to hold. Unsurprising in this tepid economy, younger workers are most likely to hold service spots at companies like Wal-Mart, Starbucks and Target. However, the top employer of Gen Yers is the Armed Forces.

A little more shocking were the self-proclaimed job titles held by Millennials. While “Server” and “Intern” were high on the list, the most surprising entry came at Number 5. The 5th most popular job title for workers aged 18-29 is “Owner.” That’s right, young employees may be disheartened at this economy, but it looks like they’re planning on taking matters into their own hands. And I believe that this says a lot about a generation whose average tenure with any given company is just over 2 years. Obviously, businesses need to find a way to relate to these ambitious young workers. Or else they might just jump ship and become the competition.

So here’s some helpful hints for managers trying to harnass this entrepreneurial energy.

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    • Christina K.

      As a fellow 26-year-old Gen Yer, I hate reading articles about how lazy, entitled and bratty 20something are. But to look at the data from the Forbes study and jump to the conclusion that we are an entrepreneurial bunch is more than a little premature.

      Yes, “owner” came in as the 5th most popular job title, but it only represented 1.2% of the whole group (with the highest percentage a meager 2.9%). That doesn’t scream entrepreneurial to me. Also, Facebook does not require validation of the employment listed in your profile (with the exception of joining a company’s network with a valid email address…which I’m pretty sure doesn’t apply to that 2.9% working at Olive Garden or Red Lobster). I could list myself as the “owner” of “Totally Fake Cool Company” and Facebook would be none the wiser.

      I think that this Forbes article is extremely weak. If people are going to make real generalizations about Gen Y, they should use more legitimate sources, like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics or tax return data.

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