Here’s What Science Actually Says About Millennials’ Work Ethic
Since the oldest millennials were only 16, articles deriding the fragility, self-centeredness, incompetence and poor work ethic of Generation Y have abounded. Many use anecdotal evidence to make sweeping but unsubstantiated generalizations.
Some of these claims are (unfortunately) verified. Cross-generational studies repeatedly show that millennials are more assertive, confident, expectant and narcissistic than any other generation.
Not according to actual science:
- A survey from Citigroup and Seventeen Magazine found that almost 80 percent of students take at least a part-time job during the school year—a higher rate than ever before.
- The Wharton School of Business surveyed its students in 1992 and in 2012: in 1992, the grads estimated they’d be working an average of 58 hours a week after graduation; in 2012, they guessed an average of 72 hours. In 1992, 78% of the class planned to have children, compared to only 42% in 2012—yet the percentage of students who wanted children was the same. The study’s author, Stewart Friedman, explains that today’s students couldn’t reconcile the hours they anticipated working with building a family.
- According to research by Bentley University, more than half of millennials are willing to work long hours and weekends to achieve career success.
- A survey by Ernst & Young’s Global Generation Research found that 47% of millennials in management positions have begun working more hours in the last five years, compared with only 38% of Generation X and 28% of Baby Boomers.
Hundreds of studies had the potential to bring Gen Y’s work ethic down, but none could.
My takeaway? This generation’s working like we have something to prove