I had a conversation with a Stanford GSB classmate regarding differences in work ethics between, ahem, ‘our’ generation, and the Millenials who have been entering the workforce in the last few years. His views: “We worked harder at Stanford than they do today, and we expected a lot less. We knew we would have to earn our respect when we got to the workforce. Now they just feel entitled to it. And they want foozball breaks in the middle of the day to boot.”
But is that a fair view? I’m slightly (much) more sympathetic to the younger crowd. My observation at UBS is that the younger set today have a ton of energy, a lot of ideas, and want to be challenged. In this respect, they are probably not at all unlike the twentysomethings of the 1990s, 1980s, or 1910s, for that matter. On the flip side, with the boom in the tech sector commanding so much social and employment currency, inevitably we will see the norms in that sector bleeding into other industries as well.
A recent UBS report on Millenial financial attitudes was encouraging. Substantial percentanges of the Millenial demographic reported that they believe they should work hard and that they will have to; they believe in the requirement of saving for the future; they are actually quite conservative in their investment approach.
My own attitudes toward the Millenial generation is quite optimistic. I think they are willing to put in the sweat equity to build great lives for themselves and their communities around them. Their tech savvy will connect far flung corners of the world and help organizations efficiently target communications. They are smarter and more responsible than they are given credit for being. Organizatons and leaders from my– sigh– ‘older’ generation, should foster the spirit and capabilities of our younger colleagues.
— Tim Shields, UBS