Are millennials really lazy and unreliable?

Young employees are often thought of as inferior to their older counterparts. Is this unfair?

Are millennials really lazy and unreliable?
We hear it again and again.

Millennials have low attention spans. Millennials are lazy. Millennials are unreliable.

But is there any truth to this? And can a generation really be stereotyped?

Steve Shepherd, CEO of TwoPointZero, told HRD that "every generation thinks that the one that came before it was worse than them and the one that came after it was worse than them".

“One thing that is really clear is that in comparison to the generation that came before it, millennials have access to a lot more information, advice and resources," he said.

“But this stuff that I see about millennials not interested in working is just rubbish.

“We know that we have an aging population and baby boomers are going through retirement so we need to be bringing in these new workers and developing them.”

That means that it’s necessary to take a risk on people who have the qualifications because they need to build the experience.

Shepherd thinks that over the last 20 or so years there has been a shift away from the culture where many organisations offer traineeships, apprenticeships, cadetships and those sorts of things.

“They have become part of the cost-cutting exercises and I think as corporations we need to consider how we reinvest in youth to continue to develop the workforce of the future,” he said.

One of the challenges that young people have is that often they don’t know what they want to do, added Shepherd.

However, they are eager to work so when they get into that job and find out that they don’t like it they leave and they take another job.

“It’s not necessarily job hopping but looking for the job that’s really right for them. And when they are young we know that they don’t have a lot of practical experiences,” he said.

“They don’t have a lot of exposure to different jobs so their knowledge and understanding of those jobs is limited.

“What we do as career coaches is work with them to help them understand what they are passionate about, what drives them and what motivates them and then explore the career and the educational opportunities which are linked.”

Consequently, when they do come into the workforce they are entering into a job with all of the information they need to know about that organisation, the type of work and the areas that interest and motivates them.

“I think if we can help young people to find that than this notion of job hopping and being unreliable will disappear,” he said.

“The young people that we speak to say: I’m not unreliable I’m just looking for the job that suits me and I don’t know much about the workforce’, so the best way to do that is to experience it until hopefully they find something they like.”

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