It's official—Millennials are taking over the workplace.
According to Pew Research Center's analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, "More than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials (adults ages 18 to 34 in 2015), and this year they surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce."
We can only assume that this number will grow too, as college students will soon graduate and join the labor force with their peers.
Another big contribution to reaching this milestone is immigration. Pew explains that, "Relatively speaking, few immigrants come to the U.S. during childhood or during older adulthood. In the past five years, over half of newly arrived immigrant workers have been Millennials."
Should this transition cause unrest among the workforce?
Think about the age cohort that includes Milllennials: Anyone born between 1980-1995 (give or take a few years, depending on who you ask).
We often think of Millennials as brand new graduates, living out of their parents' basement, still wiggling out of their cocoons. However, someone at the later end of this generation spectrum, someone in their mid 30s, certainly has gained a respectable amount of experience in the workforce. We shouldn't be worried about Millennials representing the majority of the workforce, we should be relieved.
This generation has paid their dues, proving to be competent and driven members of the economy—an economy that was once not very friendly to them or their job requests. Nonetheless, they have come out the other end of the tunnel wide-eyed and excited, taking the job market with full force and not being afraid to declare what they want.
The New York Times sums it up pretty nicely:
"By now, the oldest millennials are 35. They aren’t children anymore — in fact, a majority of them are leaders with decision-making power and direct reports. While executives have been fretting over the millennials, though, a new generation is growing up behind the scenes — Generation Z. Within the next three years, Gen Zers will be the college grads in my audiences, and they are poised to be somewhat different from the millennials."
We have been so consumed with Millennials, trying to nail down the way that they work and what makes them tick and what they need to do better and what makes them happy and what makes them sad—that we have forgotten to recognize there is an entirely new generation coming up right behind them. Generation Z.
Here are a few things you need to know about Gen Z (anyone born between 1996-2012):
- They're independent—Where Gen Y grew up in a tight economy, Gen Zers have had a little more freedom, and are thus more removed from their parents and eager to be on their own.
- They crave face-to-face interactions—Unlike their Gen Y counterparts, Gen Z craves the element of in-person interactions, focusing less on virtual communication and more on the good ole' fashion way—face-to-face.
- No 9-5 here, please—Gen Z takes even less to the confinement of a strict work schedule than our Gen Yers. They value quality over quantity, and want to work wherever it is that makes them the most productive.
- They're more entrepreneurial—According to Business Insider, 72% of high school students want a start a business and 61% would rather be an entrepreneur than an employee when they graduate college.
- They want to change the world—Similar to Millennials, Gen Z wants to make a difference in the world. In fact, over half of them want to be in a career that makes an impact on the world, and 25% of them are involved in volunteering.
- They're fast-paced—Gen Z is constantly working off multiple screens, doing multiple things, and talking to multiple people at any given moment. They prefer quick bursts of communication rather than long-winded conversations, and value frequent feedback.
And so it begins. Time to decode another generation...