5 common myths about millennials in the workplace—debunked

Contrary to popular belief, millennials’ career goals and expectations don’t differ much from their Generation X and Baby Boomer colleagues, a new study from IBM reports.

Since they joined the workforce, millennials have had the reputation of being lazy, self-centered and imbued with a sense of entitlement.

A new study from IBM says that reputation might not be deserved.

The study says the primary difference between millennials and their older co-workers is simply their digital proficiency—because millennials grew up with technology, they are more comfortable with it. When it comes to professional goals, engagement with work and preferred leadership styles, millennials want many of the same things that Baby Boomers and Generation Xers do.

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The study debunks five common myths about millennials, presenting the results in true millennial form-in memes:

Myth 1: Millennials’ career goals and expectations differ from those of Baby Boomers and Generation Xers.

This isn’t true. Millennials have the same professional aspirations as their older colleagues. Millennials want financial security and seniority just as much as Generation X and Baby Boomer employees, and Generation Xers and Baby Boomers want to work with a diverse group of people just as much as millennials.

Myth 2: Millennials want continuous praise from their bosses and think everyone should get a trophy.

Millennials don’t think this. When the study asked respondents to rank their top attributes of a perfect boss, millennials—as well as Generation X and Baby Boomer employees—said their most-valued qualities in a boss are ethicalness, fairness, transparency and willingness to share information.

Myth 3: Millennials want to do and share everything online; they have no boundaries between work and their personal lives.

Again, false. Millennials are less likely than older generations to use their social media accounts for business. Also, when it comes to professional learning and acquiring skills, millennials prefer face-to-face communication.

Myth 4: Millennials can’t make decisions without crowdsourcing.

Not true. Millennials are no more likely to ask for others’ advice when making decisions than their older colleagues are. More than half of millennials say they make better decisions when others provide input, but almost two-thirds of Generation X employees agree.

Myth 5: Millennials are more likely than their older colleagues to leave a job if it doesn’t fulfill their passions.

This is another falsehood. Millennials change jobs for the same reasons Generation X and Baby Boomer employees do: to enter the fast lane (make more money or work in a more innovative environment), climb the corporate ladder, follow their heart and save the world.

Learn more about the study.


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