Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Study: Millennials to Shake Up Corporate America

Did you know that by the year 2020, Millennials, the generation born between 1982 and 2003 and who helped twice elect President Obama, will comprise more than one of three adult Americans. In fact, it is estimated that by 2025 they will make up as much as 75 percent of the workforce.  So, understanding this generation’s values creates a window into the future of corporate America.

New survey data suggest that Millennials are as liberal in their corporate outlook as they are in their political view. They want to work for companies with public service missions, they want their employers to contribute to social and ethical causes, and they’d rather make less money but do something that they love.

This data paints a contrast to older generations, according to the authors of a new study, who argue that Millennials have such liberal views about social responsibility, personal wealth and financial institutions that they stand to reorder the priorities of corporate America. This study was written by two men who have long studied this generation: Morley Winograd, a senior fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School Center on Communication and Leadership Policy, and Michael Hais, a former vice president for entertainment research at Frank N. Magid Associates.

“As Millennials become an increasingly large share of the adult population and gather more and more wealth, the generation’s size and unity of belief will cause seismic shifts in the nation’s financial sector, shaking it to its very foundations and leading to major changes in the nation’s board rooms,” the authors wrote.

According to the study, a 2013 survey of high-achieving high school students found young people most wanted to work at companies with public service missions. Among those are health care companies such as St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, government agencies such as the FBI and the CIA, and private employers “whose mission is to change the world for the better.” Additionally, a 2012 survey of insurance company employees found 63% of Millennials want their employer to contribute to social or ethical causes, vs. about half of Baby Boomers and older Generation Xers.

Further, an Intelligence Group survey found 64 percent of Millennials would rather make $40,000 per year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a jot they think is boring. The average investor ages 21 to 36 has about half his or her savings in cash, compared to 23 percent for other age groups, according to an analysis by UBS Wealth Management in the Americas. It described Millennials as “the most conservative generation since the Great Depression.”

He said, “There is a great deal of survey research that suggests the conventional wisdom … that young people are liberal when they are young but grow more conservative as they age, is simply wrong. People form lifelong beliefs about how the world works between the ages of 17-25, and once formed, they rarely change.”

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