Why millennials don’t deserve the bad stereotypes they get

By: Farzin A. Espahani

Try typing the phrase “facts about millennials” into Google and you’ll get over 15 million results. There’s no shortage of studies on millennials, but sometimes those studies wind up producing stereotypes that are unhelpful or somehow miss the mark.

Researchers say that you’re a millennial if you were born between 1982 and 2004, and Pew Research just found that millennials have overtaken baby boomers as the largest demographic in the US. There are about 75 million millennials aged 18 to 34.

When you’re talking about that large of a group of people, stereotypes are obviously going to be less than fully accurate. Consider the fact that immigrants are adding more numbers to the millennial demographic than any other age bracket in the United States and you’re getting an ever-changing picture that’s hard to pin down.

Still, there are a lot of stereotypes out there. The main ones are that millennials are entitled, self-obsessed, and lazy.

In fact, those all made the list of the 14 most destructive millennial stereotypes. Another stereotype is that millennials can’t hold down a job, but in fact research shows that millennials stay in jobs longer than their Generation X counterparts of the same age.

Millennials: Confident, Connected, and Open to Change 

The Pew Research Center, who has studied millennials maybe more than anyone else, put out a report on millennials. In the report, the researchers dispelled a lot of the myths surrounding millennials and explained what’s really going on.

  • Positive relationship to technology

One big stereotype about millennials is that they’re part of the “Me Generation” and spend way too much time on Facebook. Millennials, or the digital native generation that grew up with cable TV and cell phones, have a more positive take on technology than any previous generation, according to Nielsen data

Nearly three-fourths of millennials (74%) feel that technology makes their lives far more convenient. That makes sense when you consider how easy finding a local restaurant or store is with local SEO. What’s really interesting about the Nielsen findings is that they also show that 54% of millennials reported using technology to stay closer to friends and family.

Over four-fifths of millennials say that they sleep with their smartphones on and by their bedside. Instead of Facebook and social media being tools that ironically distance millennials from each other and their friends, most millennials actually use social media to stay in closer contact with friends and as a way to set up hangouts, dates, and meetings.

  • Millennials are empowered, not entitled

The top stereotype that gets forced on millennials is the label “entitled.” The truth: almost half of millennial YouTuber’s are actively looking for new perspectives that take them outside of their own.

Millennials are actually empowered instead of entitled and would rather take their growth and careers into their own hands. In fact, most millennials are idealistic about their work and 87% of millennials want career growth opportunities.

  • Self-improvement is a high priority

Millennials consistently say that striking the right work-life balance and finding a job that allows for skills development and gives them a solid sense of purpose are high priorities. Opportunities for self-improvement are a must in the workplace and outside of it for millennials.

One stereotype about millennials that doesn’t seem to want to go away is that they’re lazy.

As it turns out, millennials are willing to work hard for a job that aligns with their values and offers flexibility. For millennials flexibility means the chance to have more control over their schedules, work location, and even the nature of their role within an organization.

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