The Millennial Struggle to find an Amazing Workplace

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( — June 29, 2017) Hudson, WI — Generation Y is a cohort of individuals born between the years of 1981 and 1995. Better known as Millennials, this group of individuals is often subject to many stereotypes. While this is the case for every generation as they become the next to reach status quo Millennials are commonly considered lazy, uncommitted, and bad with their finances.   

“The world is passing through troublesome times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.” 

While you may feel that this quote applies to younger generations today, you’ll be surprised to know it was written in the year 1274. In fact, it’s been well documented that every generation since the Industrial Era has been known as the “lazy generation that is destroying the world, and older generations have looked down on younger generations for a thousand years before that. So where do the stereotypes of Generation Y come from? 

As the root of many stereotypes in a capitalistic society, many believe a lack of money equates to laziness. Time and time again, this has proven to be simply untrue. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the average salary of an individual of a worker between the ages of 18 and 34 was $35,845 in 1980. In 2013, the average salary for full-time workers in the same age range was $33,883. Keep in mind that inflation has increased 196.8% since 1980. At the 1980 rate, adjusted for inflation, a worker falling into this demographic would be earning an inconceivable $101,331 in 2013. It doesn’t end there. In 1980, only 11% of the country had a bachelor’s degree, while over a third of adults age 22 and up have a bachelor’s degree in the United States today. 

Combine this information with the 320% increase in college tuition costs in that same time span, and you begin to get a picture of why purchasing a home was once a rite of passage, and now proves to be exceedingly difficult. Forget avocado toast; the increasing financial burden being placed on young people in this country is the cause for the perception of being poor with finances. This is an issue that Millennials didn’t cause, but will surely have to solve. 

Far from lazy, this stereotype is likely not only rooted in financial strain, but in technological advances that make life simpler today than it was 40 years ago. With a record number of individuals getting degrees, and low entry-level pay, many Millennials hold two or three jobs in addition to their full-time profession. In fact, Generation Y is the most overeducated, overworked, and underpaid generation in history. Could this low pay and subsequent need to hold multiple jobs, be the reason for the “lack of commitment” stereotype as well? 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 87% of workers ages 25 to 29 hold jobs for less than five years. This is compared to 76% for ages 35 to 39 and 69% for ages 40 to 48. There are many factors that play into this data. For a number of individuals, ages 40-48 are the most established years of their career. During hard times, companies will lay off their newer, and often younger employees, well before laying off the more established ones. This is just one reason that causes Millennials to look for other work. During the recession, it seemed everyone was looking for work, and that trend has still not recovered. While the younger an individual is, the more frequently they change jobs (but only by a slight margin), everyone today is changing jobs more frequently than at any point in the past.  

A big reason for that is that wages have been stagnant since 1973. Organizations have opted to put revenues towards corporate profits, rather than rewarding employees or making new openings more competitive. Employers have not been loyal to their employees for some time now, and employees are beginning to reciprocate that. This means that employees are forced to move horizontally, rather than laterally, when striving for a new opportunity. In order to earn a new title, raise, or overall promotion, individuals find themselves looking elsewhere for work.   

In his chapter of Amazing Workplace, Ed Bogle writes, “Millennials have watched their parents get laid off two and three times. They’re not interested in going to work for a company for 30 years in order to receive a gold watch. They’re interested in being engaged, being a part of the company and having a meaningful work life every day.” Since the recession, companies have been making cutbacks that ultimately effect employee engagement. These cuts cost businesses exponentially more than they are saving. While Baby Boomers can adjust to cuts more easily than Millennials, due to them experiencing budget slashing for multiple decades, the practice of dropping employee engagement practices is ultimately negative for everyone, especially your company and their bottom line. This pushes loyal employees out of your company sooner or later, whether it be the ones that have been there for 35 years or the ones that have been there for less than five.  

The cause for Generation Y stereotypes is rooted in a social response to changing technology and changing times. Some of those are rooted in older stereotypes involving income disparity, which have previously been debunked. Although it is important to remember that Millennials are not much different than previous generation at that age, it is also important to understand that the actions of Millennials are simply a necessary reaction to the challenges of today. 

Amazing Workplace: Creating the Conditions that Inspire Success is a book involving multiple writers including thought leaders, entrepreneurs and industry experts that provide a solution to dwindling employee involvement. It can be found at

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