Millennial’s are different. It’s a refrain that’s been repeated so often over the past decade that it’s become accepted gospel. Employers have been wringing their hands over Millennial’s for so long that a funny thing happened: The oldest Millennial’s got older. But recent research has found that, as Millennial’s age, they begin to look a lot more like the previous generations.
Millennial’s famously (infamously) live with their parents longer, marry later, and are less inclined to drive a car or buy a house. They’re not as loyal to their employers; they require constant praise, and so forth and so on.
But, according to this research, the oldest Millennial’s have moved out of their parents’ homes. They’ve gotten married, started having kids and moved to the suburbs. And many of the generational traits that supposedly set Millennial’s apart from previous generations have faded, as they’ve entered into middle age—even that constant need for praise thing.
Millennial’s grew up during the explosion of helicopter parenting, when parents didn’t mind chauffeuring teenagers around or showering children with compliments and positive feedback. Then the oldest Millennial’s began entering the job market just as the recession hit. That closed many doors to them, just as they should have been opening. On the other hand, the explosive growth in technology and social media opened a world of options to them. The result: It made it harder to commit to just one course.
And that, these two competing social forces, researchers have concluded, is what really was forcing many Millennial’s to put off lifecycle milestones—like moving out of their parents’ home.
It’s almost no wonder they entered the workforce like they did.
But as the economy has recovered, and they’ve gotten older, many of the negative traits associated with Millennial’s have been fading.
And happily for employers, the positive traits seem to stay with them: They are experiential learners who prefer to dive in and engage in new concepts. And they really do like to work in groups. They are digital natives and natural multi-taskers and prefer a flat-but-networked communication style.
Therefore, the good news for people who work with Millennial’s is that their positive traits tend to hang around, while the millennial quirks that drive older workers crazy are likely to mellow with time. No hand wringing required.