I swear to god, if I have to hear one more joke about millennials and avocado toast I’m going to lose it like a baby boomer not getting enough cheese on their nachos at Chili’s. For the last 23 years, I’ve been bashed from simply being born between 1981 to 1996. Supposedly, we’re the Spider-Man 3 of the generation franchise. Unfortunately, the millennial complaints/insults are unoriginal. We’re lazy, we don’t save money for our future, and we’re not buying homes. But there are some fair arguments to be made such as being job hoppers. The real question is, how true are these stereotypes and how is our generation progressing out of them?
Ambition by the numbers
Millennials have been declared unambitious for numerous reasons, including us showcasing our rec soccer participation trophies as our greatest treasure. But we are a bit more driven than others think, and we have to data to prove it. A study from Bank of America shows that we push ourselves in the workplace. According to the study, 46 percent of millennials have asked for a raise in the last two years, which is 10 percentages points higher than Gen X (36 percent) and 7 percentages higher than baby boomers.
Millennials also are pinned for saving absolutely nothing for retirement to the point that we don’t even want to talk about it. But we’re starting the save a bit more than nothing. The Survey of Consumer Finances states that households headed by those 35 years or younger have a median of $12,300 in retirement saved. This isn’t close to what you need saved for retirement, but it is a good start and will hopefully rise down the road.
We’re generalized for not buying homes and to be fair, we aren’t. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want them. In fact, 80 percent of millennials do want to purchase a home in the near future. Reasons we haven’t purchased a home include getting married later and paying off debt. Speaking of marriage, we’re changing that too. At first, millennials were being hit with we’re not getting married but now we’re responsible for lowering divorce rates. A study done by the University of Maryland shows that divorce rates have decreased by 18 percent between 2008 and 2016. Millennials are largely responsible for this rise due to the change in how our generation is handling marriage. Overall, these statistics have shown that millennials are progressing through our generalizations and proving them wrong.
Changing up the culture
While we’re working past our stereotypes, we’re changing the business world around us. For starters, we’re unlike any of the generations before us with our strong understanding of technology. For our entire lives, we’ve been working and socializing with technology. This creates new wants and needs for millennials in the workplace. We’re looking for jobs to feed these wants and needs like startups. Startup culture is completely changing the overall workplace. Everything from unique perks to changing workplace behavior from “me” to “we,” Millennials are pushing for an atmospheric change in the workplace. And it’s working. By 2030, millennials will take up 75 percent of the workforce. If companies want to survive, they need to adapt to what millennials want from their place of work.
Millennials are working past the generalizations and are looking to avoid the pitfalls that older generations are currently facing. The constant criticism might actually have been a good thing. Due to the rise of the internet in the last 20 years, we’ve seen coverage on our finances and work ethic everywhere. Anything from Facebook posts to TIME magazine covers. All this coverage has subconsciously taught us financial responsibility. This additional education has poised us for a stronger financial understanding than most generations. Regardless of what others say, we’re progressing forward changing the world, the workforce and how we’re perceived.
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