Millennials don’t deserve their negative reputation

by Tim Pate

Some business leaders are scared of hiring Generation Y employees. That is the unfortunate truth. Many companies have been led to believe that the Millennial generation – that age group ranging from approximately 18 to 34 – is composed of unreliable, lazy, naïve workers, too incompetent, too care free, or too self-interested to do an effective job.

Take, for example, this article by Hollis Thomases on Inc.com: “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media.” A post that garnered much feedback on both sides of the debate, Thomases’ piece paints a picture of Generation Y that is anything but appealing to an employer. This pervasive conception and regard of Millennials is not only detrimental to the success of members of Generation Y, but also to the potential of the companies unwilling to hire the youngest members of the workforce.

Image credit: Calita Kabir, Flickr.com

With our (and yes, I am among the ranks of the Millennials) strange, fleeting trends, our deep involvement in social media, and our love for music that sounds more akin to the belching of a robot than the artwork of a master composer, I can sympathize to an extent with the apprehension displayed on behalf of experienced managers of the older generations. After all, we tend to fear that which we don’t understand.

However, I believe that it’s time that recruiters and interviewers stopped judging applicants based on a preconceived notion of what it means to be a Millennial and instead evaluated prospects by their merits. As part of my position with the College of Business Department of Communications, I get to profile exceptional students at Colorado State University who absolutely shatter the image of a typical Millennial as proposed by people such as Thomases.

One need only look as far as the News & Events section of our website, where these students are highlighted each month for their extraordinary work – academic, professional, and humanitarian. Click the link for the story about Collin Brown, and you will discover a young man exploring the intricacies of the Internet Protocol system, a highly technical concept foreign to many people across generations. Brown’s youthful curiosity and dedication to discovering the latest in technology bolstered his academic and professional success – it did not hinder it.

Or you can browse the work of the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA program in the College of Business, where young entrepreneurs are developing sustainable business ideas to improve lives through ingenious business ventures. The work of these students crosses boarders, brings communities and cultures together, and creates opportunity to address global issues in innovative ways.

Thankfully, there are people out there (of Generation Y and outside of it) who are defending the integrity of the Millennials. Publications such as Forbes and Ragan’s PR Daily have published articles reinforcing the ability and aptitude of young workers, and I speak on behalf of most Millennials in saying that I appreciate their efforts.

In CSU’s own College of Business and across the country, young, aspiring students and professionals are looking for the chance to demonstrate the impressive feats of which they are capable. They have been equipped with skill-sets that prepare them to face challenges that doubters say they are incapable of conquering. I say it’s time to give Millennials the chance to prove themselves – I hypothesize that the results could surprise us all.

What are your thoughts? Do some businesses underestimate the abilities of Generation Y? Or are people justified in being cautious about hiring Millennials? Submit your opinions in the comments below. 

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2 thoughts on “Millennials don’t deserve their negative reputation

  1. I totally agree! To give the benefit of the doubt to those who doubt Millennials, i have seen people our age have a “know-it-all” attitude, and dismiss the years of experience of workers/employers older than them. But I have also seen the skepticism of older generations who will not take a chance on Millennials. I read the “11 reasons…” article, and think that #6 needs to be followed up with, maybe they don’t understand your company (yet) but they understand Millennials, which gives them a huge edge.

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