Editor’s Letter: About Time We Celebrated MillennialsBy Angelica Malin
Millennials get a beating, don’t they? We can do no right: we’re lazy, we’re socially-inept, we’re buried in our smart phones constantly. That’s the thinking that’s lead us to be named the “snowflake generation” – but I think we’re seeing things all wrong. We’re not lazy – we want to be challenged by our work places and given a deeper sense of purpose. We’re not socially-inept – we’re digital natives, driven by an understanding of the importance of digital communities and online conversations. We’re not buried in our smart phones (ok, sure, we are) – we more connected to technology, how it benefits our lives, frees up our world and inspires our ambitious. There’s two sides to every story, right?
The latest employment figures – showing a record high for the UK – are a welcome relief. Some good news, finally. But I think it’s about time we celebrated Millennials and Gen Z for boosting these numbers – the very things these generations are criticised for (like pushing for flexible working, wanting more employee perks & a focus on wellbeing at work) are, I believe, boosting our employment numbers. More people are opting for part-time, flexible and varied work – juggling multiple careers at once – and bringing an entrepreneurial streak to their daily grind.
From these new stats, the best thing for me is that the number of women in employment is at an all-time high. It’s no coincidence. The push towards flexible, independent working, part-time work and portfolio careers, is making it easier for women to go back to work after having kids, to juggle work with family and find a work structure that works for them. We’re saying thank you, next to companies that aren’t able to offer the kind of work compassion-culture that the next generation wants, which is pushing more companies to be better – for everyone.
What’s next? I think the world of work is changing. Work is not a pay check anymore; it’s a lifestyle choice. We want work that’s full of buzz words: purpose, mission, ethics, potential. Not a 9-5 that ticks the boxes. Not a job that’s for the salary alone. And companies are waking up to that; they’re giving their employees more trust and ownership. It’s all about project-based objectives, targets and rewards – and middle management is a thing of the past. And it’s not about individual progress anymore; it’s all about *teams*. But for us to all move forward, there needs to be more company-wide communication between the generations. That’s where we are falling short. We need to create a culture that’s trans-generational at work; we create a deeper culture of understanding, nurture and compassion.
I’ll leave you with this: nothing about work is the same for me, as for my parents generation. My dad worked for the same company his whole life; Gen Z expect to be promoted after a year. Simply put: I want more. I want a career that spans different industries, challenges me & is financially rewarding for the work that I do, not simply the hours I sit at a desk. The new employment figures would suggest that I’m not the only one – we’re working more and harder than ever before, we’re just doing it in our own way. Now, let me get back to my phone.