The “cusper” generation between Gen X and the Millennial kids have been given a name. They’re the “entitlement generation” according to a great article on the West Texas A&M University website: Read it online here.
Born from 1979 to 1994, this generation was born during some of the most dramatic times of change ever experienced. And, they will dominate the job market for about the next 70 years! Read more below.
A quick summary of what companies can do to attract and retain them:
- Work-life balance (work is a “gig”, and they have other gigs, especially family, to attend to)
- Flexible schedule
- Meaningful work, with a structured feedback loop
- Opportunities to be creative
The ‘entitlement generation’: Younger workers causing definite change in job markets
By Nicole Turner, 9 March 2006
“The millennium generation is going to dominate the workforce for the next 70 years,” said Denese Skinner, director of Career and Counseling Services at WTAMU.
Skinner is referring to those people whom are now being labeled the “entitlement generation,” which are those entering the workforce who were born between the years of 1979 and 1994.
According to the management issues Web site, this generation was labeled this because they are said to be impatient, self-serving, disloyal and unable to delay gratification. Basically, they are said to feel that they are entitled to everything without working for it.
While some people’s views of this generation are negative, Dr. LaVelle Mills, professor of management, sees it in a different light. She said this generation of workers, also called the “millennials,” grew up in daycares and had everything scheduled for them nearly their whole lives. She said this is one of the reasons they appear to be so demanding. They are used to having a busy schedule and always doing something.
“They don’t intend to be selfish,” Mills said, “they are just not willing to sit apathetically and wait for time to pass.”
Skinner said these people are just eager to jump right into work and make an immediate impact. They want a challenge.
“If companies don’t realize this, they might lose them by not giving them an opportunity to make an impact immediately,” Skinner said.
Skinner said millennials like to combine entertainment with education, which is called “edutainment.”
With this, these people are coming right out of college with degrees and have hot, fresh ideas that keep up with the enhancing and technology-driven world.
So, because this generation has all these ideas, Skinner said they expect to be able to start working in a high position, where they can ultimately apply those ideas.
Skinner said millennials have several basic needs when they enter the workforce.
The first of these needs is that they need a work-life balance. This means that they want to be able to have as much time for a personal life outside of work, as they do putting in hours on the job. They have different priorities than the older generation has.
According to a study adapted from Kam Marston of Marston Communications, millennials look at their job as a gig. They tend to think, “It’s five o’clock â€“ I have another life to get to.”
Mills said that usually family and friends are just as important to them as their jobs.
“They don’t want to make work their life,” Mills said. “Going to their child’s little league game would be equally as important as their career.”
Another need that Skinner said millennials have is a flexible schedule. This is similar to work-life balance. They want to be able to come and go as needed, allowing them to get the work done in their own timing. Also, they want to be able to take off when needed for personal needs. She said they can do many things at once.
“They are good at multitasking,” Skinner said.
Skinner said millennials also do not really care about climbing a social ladder.
While the older generations, such as the Baby Boomers, had to start at the bottom and work their way to the top position, millennials expect to start directly at the top.
She said the millennials are proving to be the best and the brightest because they know the latest trends and information, plus they have degrees. Therefore, they want to apply their degrees and knowledge at the highest position possible.
Another need millennials have is that the work must be meaningful to them and they have to truly get something from it that will benefit them.
“Millennials are very ‘me’ focused,” Mills said. “They tend to consider the question of ‘What is this going to do for me?'”
According to the study adapted from Marston, this generation focuses on their projects, their future, their goals, their career and making sure they make the right decisions for the company and for themselves.
So, how are companies dealing with this issue, as the millennials begin to take over the workforce?
Right now, Mills said, only about 10 percent of the workforce is millennials.
But, because they are growing and will eventually be the dominant generation, companies have devised some plans that will help the transition.
Skinner said if these companies don’t devise plans, they could loose potentially good employment.
“Businesses have to structure a feedback loop,” Skinner said. “To be competitive, you have to be attractive to the best and the brightest.”
According to the study adapted from Marston, several companies have started directing their advertising and hiring toward the millennials so it will appeal to them.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car has this slogan: “It’s about where I’m going, not where I’m from. It’s about standing out as an individual, yet still succeeding as a team. And it’s all mine.” The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) has focused its campaign around the idea of creating your own opportunities.
Even in this area (the Amarillo area), some companies have made some changes to prepare for the millennials.
Jim Parrish, the Human Resource Management director of Amarillo, said that 20 years ago, employers tried to hire people with the expectation that they were going to be with the company for many years.
“Today, those expectations have changed,” Parrish said. “Now, people only stay about two to three years, five if we’re lucky.”
So, because of this, because they are not staying with the companies and building up one specific retirement, he said companies are changing compensation rates, retirement plans and benefit policies to recruit those people.
He said now, since this generation is labeled the “entitlement generation,” they are starting to only get what they are entitled to, such as paying their own retirement and healthcare plans. He said this means that what they put in is what they get back.
“If you don’t put money in, you don’t get a retirement plan,” Parrish said.
But, Parrish did say that jobs for this generation are continually becoming available.
“There are going to be plenty of jobs for these new generations, more so than there was in the last 30 years,” he said.
Skinner said another good way to handle the generation gap, would be to develop a mentor program.
“It’s a good way to communicate powerfully from both ends,” she said.
She said the millennials have an opportunity to come into the company and share their fresh, vibrant ideas. But, at the same time, older generational workers who have been with the company for several years are mentoring them.
Skinner also said that millennials like to be praised, and not criticized.
“They (millennials) are crushed by the most simplest form or criticism,” she said.
So, according to the study adapted from Marston, a good way to handle this generation from a manager’s side, would be to focus on telling them things that will benefit them, the company and the customers.
Also, the study said that telling them they have worked hard and that they should go home early or come in late the next day, helps to attract them.
Mills said the positive approach to dealing with the transition from older generations to younger, would be for the older generations to look at it as an opportunity to help someone new with success. But, she said, the negative side will be if the older generation feels threatened by these new, younger workers.
Skinner said that this change is happening and there is no other way to deal with it than to step up to it, especially if companies want young, new talent.
“Companies don’t have to accept it, but if they want to create an attractive environment, they have to change,” Skinner said.