10 Facts About Generation Y (Millennials) a Small Business Should Know

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While the bulging portion of the U.S. population born in the  decades immediately following WWII are known as the Baby Boomers, it’s often confusing to keep up with the age brackets of the generations following: the X’s, Y’s and Millennials. While confounding, it’s important to know a little more about these generations. As those Boomers begin to move into retirement, the next few years will see a major shift in the workforce. Employees in the Millennials era started entering the workforce in the early 2000s, and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they will make up 36 percent of America’s workforce by 2014. By 2025, they will account for 75 percent of the global workplace.

Here are some more important things to know about the generation of workers born in the 1980s and 1990s–Generation Y or Millennials, take your pick:

1. Many aren’t using their college degrees.

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More than 63 percent of Generation Y workers have a bachelor’s degree [Millennial Branding / PayScale], but a whopping 48 percent of working college graduates have jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. [The Center for College Affordability and Productivity]

2. Yet they are still finding jobs.

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About 88 percent of Generation Y workers are optimistic about finding a job, [Millennial Branding & Beyond.com], though pay may be disappointingly low: The group’s median salary is $39,700. [Millennial Branding / PayScale]

3. Generation Y workers listen to their bosses.

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About 41 percent of millennials do what their managers tell them to do, which is a higher rate than among older, more experienced (or cynical) workers. [Strategy+Business]

 4. They want to work for small businesses.

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Like their Baby Boom (hippie) grandparents, a majority of  Generation Y workers indicate they aren’t interested in working for “tha man”  in corporate America. Unlike their Baby Boom (hippie) grandparents, who worked for large corporations: 47 percent of Generation Y professionals work for companies with fewer than 100 employees. [Millennial Branding]

 5. Social media is a must.

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OMG—lack of access to social media is a deal-breaker for Generation Y job seekers. Some 56 percent of college students worldwide said that they either wouldn’t take a job with a business that banned social media or would take the job and find a way to get around the policy. [Cisco]

6. They want to work flexible hours.

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Note to bosses who watch the time clock—Gen-Yers look for jobs at companies that embrace work flexibility, mobility and non-traditional workspaces. And 69 percent say they don’t think being in the office regularly is necessary.

7. They can be leaders.

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Maybe it’s because they fulfilled their bosses’ wishes but 15 percent of this generation are already managers. [Millennial Branding / PayScale]

8. They want to be entrepreneurs.167632646

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46 percent of Gen-Yers want to start a business in the next five years. [Employers Insurance]. 54 percent either want to start a business or already have started one. [Kauffman Foundation]

9. They want careers with meaning.

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92 percent believe that business success should be measured by more than profit. [Deloitte]

10. Above all else, they know how to use technology.

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They’ve had wifi since birth. And while they may not know how any of this stuff works, they know how to work it.

David Hollerith , SmallBusiness.com Contributor
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