I was reading an opinion piece written by one of India’s more sensational writers; on the aspirations of Indian youth. The author is currently in his early 40’s and is still associated with the mainstream media circle, as a youth icon. However, comments on the piece in question alluded that the author was old and belonged to a different generation, and didn’t really understand the new younger generation! The young respondent who probably was in his 20’s, believed that his generation represented a different set of ideas/values than those who were just a decade older. He is not alone, most of his generation and many social researchers believe that this generation is vastly different.

Millennials who were born in the 80’s to the early 2000’s are believed to be more self-assured, focussed and technology intense. This generation has grown up in an information rich world that is always connected. They have seen the advent of new economies built on the back of the Internet and World Wide Web, in many cases by their peers. They are of the opinion that respect is earned by those who are able to crack the system early rather than later. According to a Pew report this age group 18-34 year old are the largest generation of workforce today in America and are only going to grow larger.

“The workplace and workforce are going to change pretty dramatically as we look forward. The entire concept of work is going to become more flexible. The skills needed in the workforce are going to be less about IQ and a little bit more about EQ, because if you think about it, a lot of IQ knowledge is going to be available at our fingertips through hand-held devices and the computer and technologies that we have at our disposal.”- Deborah Henretta Group President, Asia & Global Specialty Channel, Procter & Gamble

This quote encompasses the idea that technology, along with generational mind-sets are both changing to create a more flexible and agile workforce. BI analytical tools, cloud computing, smart phones and IoT are all going to ensure that we are connected and have real-time data on hand to make decisions. The new workforce will be required to bring in their niche personal expertise to the table to help solve business problems rather than providing generic capabilities. Which is why, this young generation is focussing on gaining new experiences rather than accumulating years being experts in one organization.

Here are some of the highlights of the Pew report on the new workforce:

  1. Many employers – More than 54% of the respondents on the research believe that they will have six or more employers in their working life Many even believed that spending one-year at a job was good enough to look for change.
  2. Technology driven – These age groups prefer using technology to advance and aid their work. 59% respondents believed that provision of state of the art technology by the employer was a major decision point while considering employment.
  3. Entrepreneurial ability – The digital technology driven economy, gives this workforce an unprecedented opportunity to start out on their own and explore their own creativity and intelligence. 35% of the respondents of the US millennials already had started a business of their own on the side. To both supplement the current income and create the right opportunity to go solo.
  4. Work-Life balance – This generation is extremely clear that office work and office time cannot be all encompassing. 95% of the respondents in the survey stressed on the importance of work-life balance, in fact 75% said that it was very important.
  5. Flexibility – Since there is so much importance given to work-life balance and the need to explore, it could only imply that millennials expect to be judged on their outputs rather than the hours spent in office. If the output is a measure of performance then, should does the mandatory 9-6 office time make sense?
  6. Performance driven – Millennials want to take up jobs that interest them and are willing to invest time only in those jobs that engage and hold their interest. The advent of ‘gig economy’ is here to stay. Uber, Airbnb, are excellent examples of this new model.

The bottom line is that millennials want to be valued, respected and recognized for their ability and achieve success based on their capabilities in their own time and on their own terms.

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