An HR Glossary for HR Terms
Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms
What Is a Millennial?
Also known as Generation Y, Millennials are a demographic cohort, or age group, that falls between Gen X and Gen Z. They’re called Millennials because the oldest members of this generation became adults at the turn of the millennium.
Millennial Age Range: How Old Are Millennials?
As of 2024, Millennials include anyone between the ages of 28 and 43. This group is projected to make up the majority of the labor force by 2029.
Millennial Birth Years and Millennial Cut-Off
Each generational group fits between a set of birth years, and researchers use historical, economic, and social factors (among others) to determine the cutoff. Here's where the Millennial generation begins and ends in relation to others:
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Millennials grew up during the advent of the internet and personal computers. Many of them started their careers after the Great Recession of 2008, which has impacted their earning potential. They also have high levels of student loan debt. Given this background, here are some of the key characteristics of this demographic:
- They're tech-savvy. Millennials are comfortable using technology for both professional and personal purposes. Critics of their social media habits have dubbed them “Generation Me.”
- They're socially conscious. Generally, Millennials are known for being empathetic, progressive, and values-driven. For instance, 33% say addressing global climate change is one of their top personal concerns.
- They delay life milestones. Financial constraints and changing social norms have caused many Millennials to delay life milestones, like marriage, homeownership, and starting families.
- They value experiences. 78% of Millennials prefer to spend money on experiences, such as travel, dining, and entertainment, instead of material possessions.
Every generation faces oversimplification and inaccurate stereotypes. It’s important to remember that these generational characteristics are based on statistical trends rather than inherent traits.
Millennials vs. Gen Z
Millennials and Gen Z are often incorrectly lumped together, but the two generations do share some similarities, including:
- A comfort with technology
- Progressive political and social views on climate change, racial equity, and more
- Worries about both their personal finances and income inequality at large
- A priority for mental health and work-life balance
However, Millennials differ from Gen Zers by generally being more:
- Idealistic and tending to “live in the moment”
- Open to blending their personal and professional lives online
- Drawn to stability and routine as opposed to entrepreneurial endeavors
- Collaborative at work, opting for group brainstorms instead of solo projects
What Millennials Value in the Workplace
- Encourage work-life balance. Offer flexible schedules that allow remote work and respect personal time.
- Seek and implement employee feedback. Millennial survey respondents feel they can positively influence their company’s products and services, DEI, development and training, and workload management.
- Be socially responsible. This generation believes that businesses need to take the lead in addressing social issues, such as inequality and environmental sustainability.
- Provide mental health support. Regular manager check-ins, access to mental health apps and therapy, and designated meeting-free days can help.
- Provide growth opportunities. Many Millennials don’t want just a paycheck—they strive for a greater purpose. Let them own meaningful projects, set up a mentorship program, and provide professional development resources.
Included. Supported. Retained.
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