They are known as Millennials, Gen Y, Gen Next, Echo Boomers, the Baby-on-Board Generation, Screenagers, Facebookers and the MySpace Generation, to name just a few. Whatever you choose to call them, they are the nearly 80 million young adults born (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics) between 1976 and 2001 who have already joined or are preparing to join the workforce. By 2014, 36 percent of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of this generation and by 2020, nearly half (46 percent) of all U.S. workers will be Millennials (Lynch, 2008). By comparison, the generation before them, Generation X (or Gen Xers), represent only 16 percent of today’s workforce. The sheer volume of Millennials, combined with the relative lack of Gen Xers and the increasing retirement of Baby Boomers means that employers will be facing leadership gaps. And they will be looking to Millennials to fill those gaps.
By all accounts, Millennials are unlike preceding generations. They view the world differently and have redefined the meaning of success, personally and professionally. In some cases, this has led to misunderstanding among the different generations co-existing in today’s workplace. Increasingly, however, business leaders are realising this generation’s unique competencies and perspective, and employers are looking for ways to harness their strengths