Millennials! Millennials! Millennials! Seems we are bombarded by references to the Millennials. Who are they? And why are they so important?
We will share our thoughts with our blog readers in 8 easy-to-read chunks.
Simply defined, Millennials are those persons born between 1982 and 2004. They’re given the name “Millennial” because most came of age around the year 2000 – the millennial year.
Many who are our clients are under the age of 34, and many of the newest members of our teams are also of that age.
This is the year the Millennials overtake the Boomers as the largest living generation. They are not to be ignored.
Authors and demographers, William Strauss and Neil Howe, are usually credited with using the term Millennial as early as 1987, though you will also see the phrase “Generation Y” referring to this group – as different from Generation X.
It is always dangerous to paint any group with a broad stroke, but it has been nonetheless helpful to consider general characteristics of each generation as a way to understand differences. Each generation experiences “defining moments” in history that impact the thinking and actions of that generation. Each group enjoys different styles of music and entertainment that emerge on the cultural scene. Each generation faces a different economic and political climate that can affect attitudes and behaviors.
4 Generational Cohorts
Demographers and other observers have traditionally defined the generations as:
Veterans, born before 1945. These people are usually thought to be hardworking. They are savers (even hoarders) as a result of their experience with the Great Depression. During World War II, they accepted the duty that their country required.
Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. This group includes the hippies and dreamers. They are often recognized as having brought new forms of music to popularity. Eager to change the world, many in this group ushered in social changes regarding race relations, women’s roles, and the “war on poverty.”
Gen-Xers, born between 1965 and 1981. Many of those born during these years became known as “latch-key” children, as more mothers went to work. They became independent and resilient. They lived through the 1970’s Watergate Scandal, the Three-mile Island nuclear episode, and the disaster in Chernobyl – events that may explain why observers find many in this generation to be cynical and critical of institutions (religious, corporate and governmental). With segregation ending in 1964, this generation grew up in schools that were more racially diverse than those of their predecessors, leading some observers to call them the first “color blind” generation.
Millennials, born between 1982 and 2004. Observers have identified many characteristics, sometimes conflicting. It’s up to you to consider what matches with your experience.
In the blogs that follow we will describe 10 characteristics of Millennials and how those characteristics play out as your teammates or clients.
That’s it for today.
~ Carolyn and John
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