I was interested to read Emily Matchar’s recent opinion piece for The Washington Post on the effect of millennials on the workforce. She argues that those born between 1982 and 1999 are placing higher expectations on their careers.
Specifically, Matchar writes, “And what the college-educated Gen Y-ers entering the workforce want is engaging, meaningful, flexible work that doesn’t take over their lives. … These desires are not exactly radical. Who wouldn’t want flexibility, autonomy and respect?”
According to Matchar the difference between the millennial generation and those who came before is the aggressiveness with which they are going after these improved work circumstances. They are more likely to seek and ask for agreeable work arrangements. They are also more willing to quit when they don’t get what they want.
Matchar’s overall conclusion is that the influx of the millennial generation will change workplaces for the better. She compares the potential present day changes to the workforce with historical changes such as the adoption of the weekend and the 40 hour work week.
Throughout both the article and the comments section there is plenty of generational stereotyping and name calling. Yet it seems to me that two large factors that correspond with the millennial generation, technological advances and postponed marriage and childbirth, may be having just as much, if not more, of an impact on their behavior than their general zeitgeist. After all, technology is what enables many of the flexible working arrangements. And the lack of a mortgage or pre-school tuition allows for more freedom to take a risk to go after what it is you truly want.
I’d be curious to hear your reaction to this piece. Share a comment below!