What we read in the news cannot all be true; can it?
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It seems whenever the subject of Millennials (aka, "Generation Y"; ages 18-36) comes up, be it in a new poll or study, all I hear about is their irresponsible behavior. There seems to be so much of it, it is hard to swallow, such as in how they vote, unemployment, driving, living at home, etc. There are obviously many level-headed Millennials out there, but evidently an inordinate number of deadbeats as well. Frankly, such discussion makes me worry about the future of our country. As a "Baby Boomer," I have to admit I have trouble understanding them. On the surface, they seem energetic and creative, but I fear there is a dark side.
From a business perspective, I have found Millennials have an aversion to micromanagement, as do I. They desperately want more freedom to express themselves which is causing companies to change their style of management. For example, democratic style of decision making, unlimited vacations, signing bonuses, and other perks.
The dark side of Millennials in business though, according to Gallup, is "Millennials have the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment, and those who hold full-time jobs often struggle to pay their bills."
As a byproduct, an alarming number of Millennials will remain unmarried through age 40, according to a recent Urban Institute report. The report goes on to suggest their marriage rate may drop to 70%, well below that of Baby Boomers and Generation X. According to a report released last month by the Pew Research Center, 25 percent of Millennials are likely to never marry.
This also means many Millennials will remain at home with their parents. According to Pew in a 2014 study, "for the first time in more than 130 years, adults ages 18 to 34 were slightly more likely to be living in their parents' home than they were to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household."
Millennials also seem to have an aversion to driving. According to a USA Today report, "Quite simply, cars are becoming less important or less accessible to Millennials." Their indifference is causing automotive manufacturers to re-think their marketing strategies for the future. Interestingly, Generation Z, the next generation, is rapidly passing the Millennials in terms of applications for driver licenses. why the difference between these two generations? Nobody knows for sure, but it suggests Gen Zers are more ambitious.
According to the Census Bureau, the Millennials recently surpassed the Baby Boomers in terms of volume, making them the #1 age group in America representing 83.1 million people. This represents more than one quarter of the nation's population. Yet, only 24 million millennials voted in the 2016 election, representing a paltry 28.8% of their eligible voters (see report).
Perhaps the Millennials' trait of being apathetic stems from their inclination to avoid responsibility in work and marriage, and remain at home instead. It should therefore come as no surprise that those Millennials who vote, tend to gravitate to entitlements and socialism. Had they showed up at the voting booth in 2016, the outcome of the election could have been much different. However, many of them believe the American electoral process is rigged, therefore they do not bother to vote.
Those Millennials surprised Hillary Clinton didn't win the election because of the popular vote simply do not understand the basics of government in this country, such as the electoral college. It is interesting, this generation, which is more imbued with technology capable of accessing news and information 24/7, is perhaps the most naive when it comes to current events and our mechanics of government.
When you add these reports up, the Millennials are depicted as an irresponsible group of people who are terribly naive about the world around them. This is a frightening conclusion and doesn't bode well for our future. As to who is responsible for all this, I think the Baby Boomers, who are the parents of the Millennials, should take a close look at themselves in the mirror.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a freelance writer and management consultant in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.
For Tim’s columns, see: timbryce.com
Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.