The millennial generation is not just about to enter the workforce. They are already there. In fact, the oldest millennial is already 37 years of age, yet employers and HR and talent management professionals act like the entirety of this generation is still living in their parents’ basements. While it is true that many millennials are recent college graduates still green behind the ears when it comes to their careers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that they hold about 20 percent of all management jobs, up from just 3 percent in 2005. And as baby boomers retire, the number of millennials needed to assume leadership roles will rise exponentially—but employers struggle to accelerate their leadership development programs to properly prepare millennials to assume leadership positions.
There is no shortage of studies that highlight why this ethnically diverse generation are technical natives, continuous learners, and excellent team players and collaborators. There is also no shortage of written work that highlights how millennials may disrupt the workplace. All of this research in the quest to discover how this generation will behave as a whole has led to the notion that all millennials share the same values and will likely behave in the same way in the workplace. This is simply not the case. Just like not all baby boomers will retire at age 65, not all millennials will be good team players. In fact, as millennials age, notable differences among them are emerging. One common thought about millennials is that they are serial job hoppers, yet there is evidence that millennials who have been in the workforce for a couple of years begin to form more conventional attitudes about work than millennials of the same age who are still in college.