Millennials to outnumber the over-40s in the workplace

Millennials are having a huge impact on everything from consumer marketing to staff recruitment. In 2016, Millennials will outnumber the Baby Boomer generation in the workplace. Understanding what makes this generation tick is essential for business owners and managers.      

Who are the millennials?

It is the name given to those born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. They’re the first generation to grow up in the digital age. There are more than half a million people millennials in Ireland right now.

What are they like?

Research from Bord Bia indicates that millennials collect and talk about experiences the way previous generations collected material items such as CDs or clothing. They value healthy and active living and like to post pictures of their experiences online.

They are optimistic. Having grown up through the recession, they are good at budgeting and seeking out value. Typically they are disciplined in their spending during the week but are prepared to splurge at weekends. It is characteristics like these that differentiate them from Generation X and Baby Boomers.

More buzzwords. What are generation x and baby boomers?

Generation X is the name marketers give to those born roughly between 1960 and 1980. They are sometimes referred to as the ‘me’ generation. They followed the Baby Boomers, those born in the post-World War 2 years from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s.

What impact are millennials having on business?

Their media habits are different. They are less likely than Generation X or Baby Boomers to buy newspapers or watch television. Millennials are heavy users of social media and are positively disposed towards buying goods or services online. Businesses which does not have a strong online presence, and do not use social media, run risks of being invisible to them.

Millennials use the Internet to check and compare offerings, rooting out deceptive marketing in an instant. Millennials are alert to corporate hypocrisy and, where found, they are keen to spread it online. If you’re talking to them, keep it real.

What does all this mean for traditional businesses, particularly smaller ones?

By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. They are less likely to believe in company loyalty and make their job choices based on opportunities to up-skill and progress. They value companies that promote good corporate citizenship, and they are more likely to ‘job hop’ more than their predecessors.

Having come of age during the recession, they are price conscious and attracted by deals, using apps on their smartphones to actively seek out value.

Millennials can be tough customers to please, according to Bord Bia’s Understanding Millennials for Better Connections research “Millennials are at a stage in life where they are beginning to establish more committed and formal relationships, making decisions that have a longer-term impact,” the research says. “The same is true for their relationships with brands. Brands they embrace now can often brand that they will carry with them for the foreseeable future.”