A new surge of entrepreneurship is coming through in the form of the ‘Millennial Generation’ as it is being referred to.
If you’ve read my previous blog with regards to entrepreneurship then you’ll have heard about how impressed I was by the calibre of ideas, presentation and execution of the business ideas put forward by the Durham University Blueprint Finalists for this year. Most of the candidates in the competition, as you would imagine are undergraduates between the ages of 18 and 24 years; the early end of the Millennial Generation, but none the less an impactful part.
If you’ve not heard about this phenomenon, the Millennial Generation refers to adults between the ages of 18 and 34 years of age and is predicted to represent more than half of the workforce by 2020.
And whereas I believe the generations before them (me being part of them!) have tended to remould themselves or slowly diversify or change their values and expectations, it feels like this new generation is taking the bull by the horns and turning the world totally on its head – or is it just that I’m getting old?!
The millennials bring with them a forceful change in the world whether it be in business or pleasure in terms of what they value, what they expect and how they are going to change the world. And I for one find it totally refreshing.
My kids are aged 9 and 7 years and I know once they hit their teens they are going to be way ahead of me with technology and stretching their own reach globally. This new generation have the world at their fingertips, and they know it – they know how to work it and they know how to get the instant results they want.
Yes, they may count their 500 ‘friends;’ on Instagram or Snapchat as real friends whereas I would count them as probably not even acquaintances as they’ve never met them. However they know they can have an impact on these people despite having built little, if any, face to face contact.
There are certainly lessons to be learned. People do buy from people and I thoroughly believe that. However how those relationships are built are changing. I still love to meet my clients face to face as then I think they get to know me & I can see more from how someone talks about their business than if we solely connected through my website or social media. The Millennials think nothing of building relationships with people they have never met, and they are happy to receive that way too, they don’t necessarily need the validation that the generations before them seem to.
But do not fear, there are ways for us ‘oldies’ to use technology more and more to grow our businesses across the world with people we have never physically met, target new audiences with our solutions (such as the Millennials) using Skype, Zoom and other virtual meeting options. You still get to see ‘the whites of their eyes’ on your screen and can make that personal contact.
Away from the technology side, there is also an interesting twist with regards to what this new generation expect from employment too. They value what is offered by an employer in the same way a brand offers values, features and benefits in a consumer sense too. It’s not all (although I am sure many could be tempted!) by the flash car or salary level, bonuses (if they still exist?!). It’s also about flexible working times, what the company represents, how they will look after their employees, learning, investment and what they offer versus the competitors.
Yes, there are still students leaving Uni having studied, accumulated debt and who sadly can’t find a job suited to their qualifications; unfortunately that is the nature of the industrial style education system we have (an opinion shared by a growing number). However, there are also more and more new business startups that are remaining successful, taking advantage of the mentoring and funding opportunities available and creating their own successes across the globe; most probably within the age band of the Millennial Generation.
People are realising that it’s not how life has to be, ‘just being employed’; there is more to life and work. The Millennial Generation know that this is achievable and look like they’re not going to settle for anything less. I wish them good luck, stand right behind them and am excited for the changes that the Millennials are going to bring.
Read more about Millennial Generation Expectations and employers via the BBC News Channel.