Millennials 101 | Characteristics


Millennials generally refer to the generation of people born between the early 1980s and 1990s. The Millennial Generation is also known as Generation Y because it comes after Generation X — those people between the early 1960s and the 1980s.

Millennials Characteristics

Millennials have been characterized in several different ways. On the negative side, they have been described as lazy, narcissistic, and prone to jump from job to job. The 2008 book “Trophy Kids” by Ron Alsop discusses how many young people have been rewarded for minimal accomplishments (such as mere participation) in competitive sports and have unrealistic expectations of working life.

A story in Time magazine said polls show that Millennials “want flexible work schedules, more ‘me time’ on the job, and nearly nonstop feedback and career advice from managers.” Another Time story in May 2013, titled “The Me Me Me Generation,” begins: “They’re narcissistic. They are lazy. They are coddled. They are even a bit delusional.”

A 2012 study found Millennials to be “more civically and politically disengaged, more focused on materialistic values, and less concerned about helping the larger community than were GenX (born 1962-1981) and Baby Boomers (born 1946 to about 1961) at the same ages.

They have also been described in positive ways. They are generally regarded as being more open-minded, and more supportive of equal rights for minorities. Other positive adjectives to describe them include confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat, and receptive to new ideas and ways of living.

Generation Me

There is a spirited, if not boring, the debate about whether Millennials are self-entitled narcissists or open-minded do-gooders; surely the truth lies somewhere in-between. Generally, however, there does seem to be more of an emphasis on the self than in previous generations, one reason why this group has been called Generation Me. Research presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) in San Diego found that Millennials themselves do believe that they are more narcissistic than previous generations, but they don’t like it.

Looking for a wider discussion about Millennials? Speak to our consultants.

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