The individuals within the Generation Y, colloquially known as “millennials,” are defined as the cohort born between the years 1980 and 2000. This year, they became the largest generation in the workforce. Because the world they grew up in was drastically different than that of their older counterparts, working millennials are projected to change the nature of the marketplace drastically as they become an increasing proportion of the working population. A survey recently highlighted by Harvard Business Review takes an in-depth look at what this demographic cohort expects from the workplace and from their careers as they begin to enter leadership roles. Reports of working with millennials across the globe identify significant differences and thus emphasize the importance in properly understanding and managing inter-generational relationships.
The findings explain that although millennials’ behavior follows overarching global patterns, there is significant variation in specific work-place needs across varying regions and cultures.
For example, in North America millennials report that opportunities to gain influence and power within the company is their primary reason for striving to become organizational leaders. Conversely, the driving factor among European millennials is more centered upon future high earnings. Taking on challenging work was the least popular answer for most regions, with the exception of Asia and Africa.
Regarding what millennials want from their employers, North American and Western European participants preferred managers who empower them, while millennials in the Middle East and Latin America are happiest when managers serve as role models.
The study also makes an important distinction regarding millennials’ workplace desires. Research has established that millennials rate work-life balance and flexible hours as high priorities within their workplaces. So it isn’t a surprise that a higher percentage of millennials are currently freelancing than those over the age of 35. The Harvard Business Review survey digs deeper by elucidating just what exactly constitutes a desirable work-life balance across differing regions and cultures.
Work-life balance is traditionally defined as having enough leisure time in private life; this study proved that this definition perhaps is particularly reflective Western values. In places like the Middle East and Asia, recognition and respect for the employees is a keystone of work-life balance and in Africa workers rate convenient work location as equally crucial to leisure time when defining work-life balance.
Finally, the study usurped stereotypes about the millennial cohort, which is often seen as materialistic and overly social. Globally, millennials prioritize time with family and learning new things ahead of wealth and the need to have many good friends.
The marketplace will inevitably evolve with the entry of new generations, so this data is critical for current managers as they continue to navigate inter-generational relationships within the workplace.
Written by Evelyn Kaczmarek of Workhoppers.com ; where companies get matched with local professionals for freelance, gig and part-time work opportunities…Helping millennials and those seeking flexible work opportunities find legitimate work.
Source: Harvard Business Review, Millennials: Understanding A Misunderstood Generation