The Truth About Generation Y

Euro RSCG Worldwide's Prosumer Report shows that Millennials believe they can effect world change.

Euro RSCG Worldwide’s Prosumer Report shows that Millennials believe they can effect world change.

TIME Magazine’s cover article on May 20 about the “ME ME ME Generation” by Joel Stein has led to some false ideas about the ambitions of Generation Y.

Today’s twenty-somethings, or “Millennials,” are a product of the current economic climate. Stein calls the generation lazy based on the fact that they are unemployed, single and living with their parents.

This, as you may have guessed, is less about motivation and more about the fact that there simply are not enough jobs to accommodate every recent college graduate.

 2013’s State of the Internship Report gives us a clear picture of Generations Y and Z. Let’s bust the myths surrounding the younger generation, shall we?

Myth #1: They’re lazy.

Contrary to popular belief, Generations Y and Z are not unambitious or lazy. Over 33% of today’s students complete their first internship before their sophomore year in college to get a jumpstart on their career.

On top of that, 82% of Millennials worldwide believe that their generation has the power to change the world, and 73% of them think that people become successful by working hard—not by being beautiful or lucky, according to the Prosumer Report by Euro RSCG Worldwide.

Myth #2: They don’t respect authority.

This myth really depends on how you define authority. Young people today are less likely to trust politicians and religious leaders, which could be seen as a rejection of authority. However, 61% of youths worldwide actually want advice from the previous generation, recognizing the older generations’ experience and wanting to learn from it.

Myth #3: They are unhealthily obsessed with social media.

Now this one is only part true. Despite their seeming dependence on social media, 82.1% of students said that not being allowed to use their personal social media accounts while at work would not affect their willingness to apply.

But while nearly all Millennials are connected to social media, it might not be for the reasons that you think. 70% of young people believe that social media is a force for change. The Millennials are using it to fight corruption, evaluate public schools, and fight stereotypes, according to the Huffington Post.

Myth #4: They’re all about money.

Students these days are less about the 401k and more about culture and flexibility. 60% of young people look at the work atmosphere of a job or the ability to balance their work life and their personal life before even glancing at salary.

58.9% of students said that the most important part of their internship experience is gaining experience and building their portfolio. Financial compensation was lowest on their list of internship benefits.

Myth #5: They’re always looking for the next great opportunity.

68% of 2013 graduates expect to stay at their first job for three years or longer, according to Accenture’s recent survey. Millennials want to commit, and their loyalty does have a price, just not the price you’d expect.

What Millennials really want is recognition and guidance. Businesses lose Generation Y because they aren’t paying attention to the generation’s needs. 46% of young people said the best sign that they are doing well at a company is “being recognized as an expert in the field,” over a promotion or a pay increase.

Don’t be too worried about hiring candidates right out of college. Dealing with the latest addition to the workforce is easy if you know what they want. The Millennials don’t take job opportunities for granted, and they aren’t the lazy no-good kids that the media makes them out to be.

So how do you make the Millennials work for you? The Globe and Mail says that it’s all about mentorship and flexibility. Work for them as much as they work for you, and you’ll not only build a good relationship with your Gen Y and Z employees, but you’ll tap the boundless creativity that the Millennials have to offer.

Download the full State of the Internship Report!

Download the full State of the Internship Report!

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Liz LeCrone