Tuesday, 6 june 2017 | Brenda Rodríguez López
They have been called lazy, fussy, spoiled and naive. Millennials have been hit by the worst economic crisis for decades. They suffer the despise of contemporary generations and the highest unemployment youth rate in history. Surrounded by a society which is questioning their talent and a hostile atmosphere, could a millennial become a successful leader in the business world?
We are living in a time where we like to name everything. Probably we are influenced by the age of Twitter where everything is susceptible to be a hashtag. We need to tag and mark the latest trends that emerge in our accelerated and digitalized reality. Tens of names have appeared to refer ourselves to new urban tribes and youth trends. Perhaps the most widespread designation until now is the millennial generation.
These Generation Y is accused of living very well. Most of these young people have received a financial support from their families until they finished their studies. Just in that moment, the crisis struck. They were unexpectedly caught off guard by reality. That is the millennial shock. After a considerable financial effort and investment in their studies, the previous generation refuses to giving up the idea of their children getting a dream job and, occasionally, they keep supporting them. Nevertheless, the last report of the Observatory of Emancipation for the Youth Council in Spain pointed 2016 as the year of the historic milestone in the emancipation youth rate in Spain from the paternal/maternal housing. Finally, after twelve years the number is below 20%.
With the advent of the global crisis, this young generation is forced to adapt to a new working environment. They are facing an unemployment rate of 4.255.000 people, according to National Statistics Institute of Spain on the Labour Force Survey on the first trimester of 2017. Although the figures have improved, the Millennium Generation needs to confront several problems. Temporary jobs have increased. Salary expectations have been reduced. They are working in jobs where they are overqualified –sometimes there is a paradox when their chiefs are less prepared than them–. They agree to do an internship that will prolong and it is no guarantee of an established position. In terms of convenience, or discourage, many of them join the group known as NEET –Not in Education, Employment or Training–. Others pack their suitcases to try their luck overseas.
The enterprises start realizing that they need to adapt to this new business circumstances. The millennials will be really important in the world of Human Resources. In 2020, this generation and the next one –also known as Generation Z– will represent the 50% of the global workforce. This is half of world's human capital. Furthermore, not all the young have given up. Some have found a good position. They have even become in the first heads of the Generation Y. How are these business chiefs? Do they really have the skills to be leaders?
He likes to inspire. He wants to be an example for his subordinates and expects from them to be part of the team. He is the captain who guides the ship. It is difficult for him to be a simple chief, in general, he does not like to give orders. He enjoys feeling part of the group –although with command capacity– and works well following that premise. Therefore, the dialogue between manager and employee is often more fluid. As a result, they get a positive feedback.
According to Nominalia, a hosting web company, the Spanish people under 35 years spend an average of almost three hours per day surfing the web –off working hours–. The boundaries between private life and work life are blurred by digital natives. Work is present at any time. On the other hand, the projects enhanced thanks to all the ideas that appear throughout the day. A disadvantage for the rest of employees that have to adapt to this labour flexibility. Another danger of hyperconnectivity is the level of anxiety and stress that the dependency of digital technology could generate in these people.
They are a creative generation who do not like limits and prefer to work on projects. They repeat the same patterns with their teams. Without rules or schedules. They work to achieve a common goal, aimlessly. Teamworks are more open and flexible.
In 2013 Viacom reveals a report with information from young people of twenty countries entitled The Next Normal: An unprecedented look at Millennials worldwide. This study explores the idea of that technology does not make them who they are, it lets them be who they are. This generation has the opportunity to access to several tools that previous generations could not use. If they used well this instruments, we could gain great benefits.
Education is the double-edged sword of Generation Y. Figures reveal that one cannot ignore the relationship between educational level and labour market participation of millennials. They are very well prepared but the competitiveness has increased. Most of them survive thanks to their continuing training. For them –and all the people who want to compete with them– it is mandatory to be aware of new trends and to keep training. They can also study an Executive Master in Human Resources, Talent Management and Leadership to have current and practical approaches that they could use since the first day in their jobs.
This human capital has clear potential to lead. Millennials will have to fight against their demons. A lack of experience may be offset by evidence of their ingenuity and resilience. Their difficulty on giving orders, with the ability to inspire and the teamwork. They must learn how to break away from the daily workload and what are the boundaries that they have to define. They have to make use of their technological skills in an ingenious way, at the same time that they take advantage of veterans's experience. They cannot settle in, environment is ceaselessly ongoing. Right now, millennials take their first steps into leadership positions, but there is no denying on the fact that the future of the companies is in their hands.