Photo courtesy of SLIDESHARE.NET
by SARAH HANASHIRO
The most recent and most populous generations include Generation Y, also called the “Millennials” and the unnamed new generation, which has been called Generation Z or the iGeneration.
Both Generation Y and Z have certain attributes that make them unique, however, there is no exact year that separates a millennial from a Gen Z-er. According to merriam-webster.com, a millennial is a person who is born any time in during the 1980s and ’90s. However, according to dictionary.com, millennials reached young adulthood around the year 2000, making the people born in the ’90s post-millennials.
Despite the lack of a definite cut-off point between the two generations, these terms are more of a convenient generalization rather than a scientific labeling system.
Millennials are generally more technologically advanced, compared to their Baby Boomer and Generation X parents, and more innovative, overall, because of it. Leigh Buchanan, editor-at-large at Inc magazine, said, “One of the characteristics of millennials, besides the fact that they are masters of digital communication, is that they are primed to do well by doing good. Almost 70% say that giving back and being civically engaged are their highest priorities.” However, despite what may seem to be positive contributions to the workforce, the term “Millennial,” also has a negative connotation to it, due to the other classic stereotypes that come with it. These include: being lazy, entitled and delusional.According to timemagazine.com, only 36 percent of millennials see themselves as hardworking and 24 percent see themselves as responsible. Joel Stein wrote, “Millennials got so many participation trophies growing up that a recent study showed that 40 percent believe they should be promoted every two years, regardless of performance.”
However, millennial stereotyping in the workplace is common and becoming a frequent topic of discussion. The stereotype of the millennial, like all stereotypes, is an exaggeration that may come from a place of insecurity. “Individuals are denied jobs and promotions, and they’re excluded from friendships and opportunities, because of mistaken assumptions about their abilities and work ethic,” according to Jessica Kriegal from forbes.com. According to a study on opportunitynation.org, 85 percent of the people between the ages of 16-24 are working or studying in school, regardless of the increasing college tuition, and it is becoming a greater difficulty for Gen Y-ers to be accepted and afford higher education.
The new generation, Generation Z, defined to be born sometime in the 2000s, will grow up in a highly sophisticated media and computer environment and, therefore, will be more Internet savvy than their Gen Y forerunners. While there are not many studies done on this population yet, because of their youth we know a lot about the environment in which they are growing up. This highly ethnically and technologically diverse generation will cause the grade schools of the next generation to be the most advanced it has ever been, according to socialmarketing.org.
These two new generations have proven to be different than their predecessors, mostly through their use of technology and greater ethnic diversity in population and thought. As time goes on, these generations will produce the next and as yet unlabeled generation.