Executive Development Blog

Millennials are Shaping the Future of our Workforce

Posted by UNC Executive Development on May 3, 2016 11:42:21 AM



UNC’s Kip Kelly recently authored a paper for INSIDE Supply Management titled, Maximizing Millennials in the Multigenerational Workforce.

"Young professionals bring a number of strengths to organizations, and as they become the working-population majority, companies need to adapt to recruit, retain and motivate these employees."

The demographic landscape of the modern workplace is shifting rap­idly, with major implications for supply management. Organizations face a potential mass exodus of their senior leaders, as more than 7,000 members of the baby boomer generation become eligible for retirement every day. Meanwhile, millen­nials have started climbing the corporate ladder, quickly becoming the majority of the workforce — by 2020, nearly half of all U.S. workers will be millennials, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2011 report, Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace. By 2025, they are expected to represent 75 percent of the global work­force. The sheer number of millennials com­bined with the increasing retirement of baby boomers means employers will be facing leadership gaps and looking to millennials to fill them. So who are these future supply chain leaders?

Who are Millennials? millenials_2.jpg

Millennials — also known as Generation Y — include the nearly 2.5 billion young adults born between 1980 and 2000. In the United States alone, there are about 80 million millennials. Many of these young profes­sionals have already entered the workforce, and that number will increase as more graduate college and begin their careers. Millennials have already surpassed Generation X and baby boomers to become the largest gener­ation in the U.S. workforce, representing over 35 percent of all workers. 

By all accounts, millennials are unlike previous generations. They are the most ethnically diverse generation, and they are also the most highly educated. They have developed a reputation for being continuous learners, team players and collaborators who are tech-savvy, optimistic, achieve­ment-oriented and socially conscious. They have also been plagued by negative stereotypes suggesting that they are lazy, narcissistic and entitled, with a constant need for affirmation and praise. 

Millennials are extremely well-po­sitioned to shape the future of supply management. They grew up in an interconnected world, with easy and instant access to information at the touch of a button. The internet has provided a valuable window to the world, and as a result, many millen­nials have a deeper understanding of the global marketplace. They build social networks that extend around the world, connecting them with their peers across the country and the globe. These digital natives are tech­nologically savvy, easily adopting new and emerging tools to improve their daily lives. They grasp the potential of the Internet of Everything in a fun­damentally different way than past generations, because their world has always been shaped and reshaped by technology. 

Millennials are extremely socially conscious, exploring ways to create efficiency and reduce waste, while sharing an optimistic worldview with an underlying belief that they can and will make a difference. Their experience has been shaped by the events of September 11 and the global economic collapse, and in response, they have become very accustomed to dealing with the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity that has become the new normal of the global supply chain.

This generation of ambitious, young professionals is already reshaping the global economy, and the changes already underway will only accelerate as millennials advance in their careers to assume more senior leadership roles.  Read the entire article here to understand the motivations and expectations of millennials and how to maximize their efforts in your organization.