Busting Millennial Myths

Categories: News

By Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager

As an AARP card-carrying member of the Baby Boomer generation, I have often caught myself having some fun by making light of Millennials, the generation that was born between 1981 and 1996. However, we have to remember Millennials now make up the largest generation in the US labor force.

According to IBM Institute for Business Value’s study “Myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths: The real story behind Millennials in the workplace”, there are a number of unflattering myths about Millennials. The multigenerational study of nearly 1800 employees from businesses across 12 countries and six industries compared the preferences of Millennials, Gen X (born between 1965-1979), and Baby Boomers (born 1954-1964). The study helped debunk five common myths about Millennials.


Myth: Millennials have different career goals and expectations.
Truth: Millennials desire financial security and seniority just as much as Gen X and Baby Boomers. Millennials also align with other generations on the importance of inspirational leadership, a clear business strategy, and performance-based recognition and promotion.


Myth: Millennials want constant acclaim and trophies.
Truth: Millennials think it’s less important to have a boss who recognizes their accomplishments. Instead, they are looking for a manger who is ethical and fair, while valuing transparency and dependability in the workplace. According to the study, what Millennials desire is not being handed awards, rather they simply want to be treated fairly.


Myth: Millennials are digital addicts who want to do – and share – everything online.
Truth: Millennials are the first generation to grow up immersed in a digital world. They’re adept at using mobile and social technologies, immediately accessing data, ideas, and inspiration, and instantly communicating. However, the study finds they prefer face-to-face contact when it comes to acquiring new work-related knowledge and skills. They are also more likely to distinguish between personal and professional realms and exercise discretion when it comes to using social media.


Myth: Millennials can’t make a decision without hearing multiple opinions.
Truth: According to the study, 56% of Millennials are likely to seek out collaboration, but that’s actually down from 64% of their GenX colleagues.


Myth: Millennials are more likely to job hop.
Truth: While 27% of Millennials have already worked for five or six different employers, it’s more likely a reflection of today’s economic conditions than anything else. The study found four key motivations for leaving a job: to enter the fast lane, shoot for the top, follow one’s heart, or save the world. But, the results are pretty typical compared to other generations. It seems aspirations more than age determine why people move on.


Wise employers will recognize the value and skills Millennials bring to an organization. While working with Millennials, JVS Career Services recruitment and placement professionals have discovered a number of other truths about this generation.


Truth: Millennials are more likely to forfeit time off.
Millennials are less likely to use all of their vacation time because they feel more fear and greater guilt about taking time away from the office than any other generation.


Truth: Millennials can rapidly adapt to change and help create new ideas.
Millennials are agile and can adapt to change, which is a valuable skill for startups and other rapidly expanding businesses. The most successful industry leaders are the ones that embrace change and adapt to it.


Truth: Millennials help bring in fresh ideas.
Millennials, with their fresh ideas and perspectives, can help generate the kinds of strategies that succeed in making a business thrive by being more attractive to younger customers.


Truth: Millennials are resourceful.
Being at the forefront of the gig economy, Millennials have become self-sufficient. Whether it’s their frugal shopping strategies or developing a variety of income streams on the side, problem-solving Millennials are not afraid to roll up their sleeves to get things done.


Truth: Millennials are highly goal oriented.
Millennials are confident in their ability to get things done, and that is why they often thrive when it comes to meeting or exceeding goals. They want their contribution to play a major factor in something that matters personally to them.


As new generations continue to enter the workplace older generations in the labor force may be quick to push back. However, employers who appreciate, learn from, and take advantage of future generations’ values and skills will succeed.


JVS Career Services recruiting will connect your organization with the best, most qualified talent. We’ll identify your organization’s goals and recruitment needs taking into account culture, fit, and skill requirements.

For more information about how JVS Career Services can help your company acquire the best talent, please contact Peter Landesman at (513) 745-2905, or plandesman@jvscareers.org.


Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager, and Career Coach, comes to JVS Career Services after 40 years as a marketing and marketing communications professional. Peter has worked in a wide variety of industries that include consumer packaged goods, retail, publishing, healthcare, information technology, private aviation, professional services, and employee benefits. He has worked for well-known companies such as World Book Encyclopedia, JCPenney, American Heart Association, NCR, and NetJets.

Peter has passionately pursued and welcomed opportunities to assist individuals with their careers and share connections that lead to the next step in their journey.  In addition to fulfilling a volunteer role with many JVS Career Services clients, Peter co-facilitates the American Marketing Association’s Career Transition Group. Among his other non-profit activities, Peter served on the Governing Board of the WE Lead Athena Program and continues to serve on the Steering Committee of the Greater Cincinnati HR Collaborative.