Millennials are the largest (73,000,000) and most diverse generation ever. In 2013, they became the largest generation in the United States, making up about one-third of the total population. 15 percent were born in a foreign country almost as high as the peak of nearly 20 percent in 1910.
Over the last few hundred years each generation has experienced technological marvels that their grandparents couldn’t have dreamt of, but one thing sets Millennials apart from previous generations- they believe they are more connected to technology than previous generations. In fact, one out of four millennials believes their relationship with technology differentiates them from other generations.
Millennials are big on having a purpose, growing (personally and professionally) and making a difference in the world. They want to have work that is challenging, creative and flexible, be close to their friends and family and have plenty of recreational time.
Among 18 to 34 year-olds, college enrollment rose 27 percent from 15 percent in 1995 to 19 percent in 2010. Enrollment for Graduate school has increased 35 percent; jumping from 2.8 percent in 1995 to 3.8 percent in 2010.
Millennials are less likely than previous generations to major in areas like business and health, and more likely to study subjects that are “career specific” and don’t fit into traditional liberal arts curricula, like communications, criminal justice, and library science.
As college enrollments grow, more students rely on loans to pay for post-secondary education. In 2014 total student debt surpassed $1 trillion making it the second largest source of household debt.
Millennials are more likely to focus exclusively on studies or work. Millennials have been less likely to work while enrolled in high school, perhaps aware of the diminished returns to working during their high school years.
Millennials are much more likely to have health insurance during their young adult years. Millennials today have better health insurance options than their predecessors, and as real health benefit costs continue to fall, (averaging just 1.1 percent over the last two years, and about 80 percent lower than the previous average), real wages and salaries for Millennials will continue to rise.
Millennials started their careers during “The Great Recession”. Research has found that macroeconomic conditions in childhood and young adulthood are important determinants for future earnings and financial behavior: The Great Recession will likely impact Millennials’ spending and saving habits, as well as their ability to earn. However, research also shows that perhaps the single most important determinant of a person’s income is their level of education.
Investments in human capital are likely to have a substantial payoff for Millennials. As the relative dividends from education keep rising, college educated Millennials will have incomes that keep outperforming those without higher degrees, for years to come.
Millennials are staying with their early-career employers longer than Gen Xers. Unfairly characterized as being uncommitted, Millennials are staying longer with their employers than Generation X workers did at the same age. While this offers Millennials job security, more learning on the job, and greater productivity, in the past switching jobs has meant higher wages for young workers.
Millennial women have more labor market equality than previous generations. They are outpacing men in terms of educational attainment- completing both four-year college degrees and attending post-college. The disparity in early career earnings and employment rates with their male peers are considerably closer than any previous generation.
Millennials tend to get married later than previous generations. The median age at which men and women have married has been rising steadily since 1950, and Millennials have continued the tradition of marrying later in life with more of them remaining unmarried in their 20s. Interestingly though, unlike previous generations, Millennials with college educations are more likely than the rest of their peers to be married.
Millennials are less likely to be homeowners than young adults in previous generations.
College-educated Millennials have moved into urban areas faster than their less educated peers. In 1980, 67 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds with a college education were living in large or mid-sized cities; in 2011 it was 73 percent. College-educated Millennials are also more likely to be living in a coastal city, reversing the general trend in America.
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About the Author
Ascanio Pignatelli helps Fortune 1000 companies unlock the full promise, energy and creativity of their millennials. Ascanio is an award winning speaker, workshop facilitator, coach, and author of the forthcoming book “Engaging Millennials.” His company E3 Solutions helps executives improve their leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces. Call Ascanio now to book your complimentary strategy session at 310.913.2313.