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The Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are often described as a generation of sociable, multi-tasking and confident people. They are team-oriented, have an advanced use of technology and they are one of the four work forces that collide together with their different ideas, values and behaviors.
There have been a number of labels used to describe different generations based on collections of loose generalizations. According to some authors, the Traditionalists were born in the 20s up to the early 40s, and some of their characteristics include a tendency towards conformity, self-sacrifice, patience and loyalty.
The Baby Boomers, born in the mid-40s up to the early 60s are described as idealists, eager to learn, keen on personal growth, and they tend to be over-achievers.
Generation X, born between the mid-60s and mid-80s, are thought to be more informal, independent and very interested in technology. This generation has been criticised for their apathy and lack of sense of responsibility.
The Millennials were born between 1985 and 1995/2000. Some authors are now referring to the rise of Generation Z, a rather unimaginative term for those born after 1995. Considering the different depictions of the Millennials and Generation Z, the line which divides them is blurry at best.
The Millennials have been in the spotlight of a large number of studies focused on management, marketing and work relationships. They are the first generation born in a world in which access to digital technologies and the internet plays a significant role in providing resources and opportunities.
Some authors consider Gen Z as raised in an environment of uncertainty driven by recession and new security measures brought in after 9/11. They are situated in a global world where differences of race, class and gender are shaped and challenged by strong accounts of inclusion and rapid flows of people, information, technologies, and financial resources.
Naturally, these children are the most technologically advanced generation. They are often intuitive users of digital technologies for communication, multimedia and design and their world is intrinsically connected to the use of the Internet through computers and mobile phones.
Some authors refer to Generation Z as “digital natives”, characterised by their heavy use of social media, their entrepreneurial, multitasking and community oriented spirit. They are used to instantaneous communication, to greater use of messaging than audio conversations and to dependence on technology for their social interactions and contact with the outside world.
The challenges they will face as the latest generation of young people are yet to be mapped out. Some enthusiasts consider this generation to have many positive traits while sceptics think that they are negatively influenced by an overuse of technology.
Clare, C. (2009) Generational Differences: Turning Challenges into Opportunities. Journal of Property Management, Vol. 74, No. 5, September/October.
Payment, M. (2008) Millenials: The Emerging Work Force. Career Planning and Adult Development Journal , Vol. 24, No. 3 , Fall.
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