Millennials have been described as the first generation who work to live, rather than live to work.

Is this fair?

We are going to unravel some common myths....

A millennial is anyone born between 1981 and 1996.

You might have heard some of the following stereotypes about millennials.

Let’s go through the facts behind some of these millennial generalisations and why they aren’t necessarily true.

1. [MYTH] They are self-obsessed.

The ‘selfie’ generation who check their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram constantly, or so we are led to believe.

[FACT] A study by the University of California in 2008 found that there was no rise in the levels of narcissism in students between 1979-2007.


2. [MYTH] They hate to be told what to do.

Even new millennial employees think they know everything from the word go. A youth spent Googling their problems has led them to believe they (via Google) have all the answers.

[FACT] Millennials are the ‘empowered generation’. While they might have a less inherent respect for traditional authority, they are adept at learning things on their own. In the past year, 70% of millennials have learned a new skill or information about a subject they are interested in via YouTube.Impressive statistic isnt it.


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3. [MYTH] They are work-shy.

They want to be promoted within the first six months, but they don’t really want to work hard for it we are told.

[FACT] Millennials are defined by the phrase ‘work smarter, not harder’. They have grown up in a world where technology is always making things easier and faster. It is in their nature to look for shortcuts and ways to streamline processes.

4. [MYTH] Millennials want constant praise for the smallest achievements.

[FACT] A recent IBM study found that only 29% of millennials were looking for praise for their achievements in the workplace.

Yes, there are differences between millennials and those from earlier generations, but with 74% of millennials reporting that they want to do a job where they feel like their work matters – this generation has the potential to add real value to your organisation. The key is in knowing how to recruit, train and develop the best millennial talent, which we will cover in the following sections.


5.[MYTH] Millennials Job-Hop

Millennials are needy and deluded according to Not Everyone Gets a Trophy by Bruce Tulgan, and other commentators, basically suggesting that millennials are the worst ever employees.

[FACT] As with any younger generation of worker their tenure in roles at the start of their career is likely to be shorter as they look to develop and progress their careers. In fact, the research that's out there suggests that the comparative job tenure of the younger generations in the 1980'S is no different at all.


It's clear that misconceptions and generalisations can be extremely dangerous to the future of businesses especially with Millennials as in 2020 it will be the first time in history that millennials will make up the majority of the workforce.


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About the Author: Mark Woffenden

Mark Woffenden is a Director at Lucy Walker Recruitment and has an extensive knowledge of the issues and workings of the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Commercial markets developed over the last 20 years in the Industry