Controversy

Are Millennials lazier than Baby Boomers and GenXers?

 
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WRITTEN BY
May 12 04:00 pm

Hannah

Although Millennials are trending to be one of the biggest sections of the workplace in the United States, this doesn’t decrease the overwhelming presence of narcissism, needing to be recognized for participation, and the sense that many of the young people born towards the end of the century are downright lazy. And why is this?

With the ever-present glare of social media combined with shocking advances in technology, it’s no wonder that this Me Generation has it easy [1]. Entitlement is a huge factor in the lives of these young ones, which can make it difficult in the workplace for business leaders who are trying to search for loyal and ethical employees. If more and more millennials have a self-centered work ethic and outlook, how can this prosper in the workplace? As compared with Baby Boomers, who typically inhabit a work mindset, are involved, and interested in expanding their personal growth, working with Millennials can be difficult. Yes, a Millennial can accomplish the task at hand, and quickly…but, don’t think they’ll check one thing off the list and then look around to see what else they can do. Why would they, when the goal is to basically get some cash and have fun when not at work?

When one out of every three millennials quit their jobs within a three-month span of time [2], something needs to be adjusted; especially when half of the reasons for these failures are because they can’t even show up for work. Why would they need to do that though, when scrolling through endless amounts of social media shows everyone else’s awesome daily highlights? If the choice is there to stay and compete or walk away unscathed, the latter will be the choice for the majority of today’s lazy millennial generation.


Hasset

Millennials tend to be portrayed as lazy, entitled, and narcissistic but this condescending attitude towards younger generations is nothing new. It is a pattern that repeats itself throughout history every time the youth live and behave in ways that go against the grain. This attitude keeps older employees blind to the fact that millennials approach work differently. 

Millennials prioritize flexibility, having a say in decisions, frequent feedback, recognition for doing good work, a sense of meaning and purpose, and most importantly, more opportunities for career development and advancement within a company. When the cost of housing in the U.S. has risen at twice the speed of wages and inflation [1], and college tuition and, subsequently, student debt has risen by about 150% [2], it’s no wonder why young people are in such a hurry to work their way up within a company and leave when that opportunity isn’t available. Blaming this on “laziness” rather than economic policies that have contributed to wage stagnation, is out of touch with reality. 

We don’t have the luxury of being able to wait for decades in order to reach success. This is why about 51% of millennials own or plan to own a business and have created twice as many businesses as boomers have [3]. This is also why the average American millennial works 45 hours a week [4], and a 5th of millennials admitted to taking on a second job in order to make ends meet. 

If companies want to retain millennial employees, they need to upgrade their business model to one that allows flexibility and training in order for employees to learn skills that can enable them to work their way up the ladder.

Fact Box

  • According to a study done at Wayne State University, researchers comparing the ‘laziness’ of various generations found that “...contrary to many popular press articles... results suggest there are no generational differences in 'Protestant work ethic' - 'Protestant' here described as “hard work, discipline, and frugality [1].'
  • A recent survey revealed that 66% of Millennials had plans to become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses [2].
  • Recent polls reveal that Millennials feel that older co-workers are holding them back from being promoted in the workplace [3]. 
  • As of July 2019, there are 72.1 million Millennials and 71.6 million Baby Boomers in the United States [4].

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