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Reprinted from the U-T San Diego

There are 80 million Millennials – those born in the years 1977 to 1997 – in the United States and their impact on the workplace is growing fast.

Approximately 10,000 Millennials, also known as Generation y, turn 21 every day in the U.S. By 2020, they will make up 50 percent of the U.S. workforce and 75 percent of the global workforce. The Millennials are the largest generation on the planet and will be a third larger than Baby Boomers.

On the other hand, currently 37 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are unemployed, while one in six are working part-time. Millennials carry a total of $1 trillion in student debt. They are looking for work, but they have a few requirements, according to several studies of this latest generation.

The generation in charge now, who succeeded Boomers, is known as Generation X, and they are only about 40 percent of the previous Boomer Generation, filling the jobs Boomers left behind while going into retirement.

In addition, with jobs shifting so dramatically overseas, the job funnel getting narrower and narrower while the up-and-coming generation looking for jobs is expanding, it stands to reason that there will be fewer and fewer jobs to fill than ever before, thereby necessitating  this generation to create their own careers. In effect, they will have to become entrepreneurs if they are to survive.

This is one of the topics on the agenda that will be explored in depth during the first Make It In America conference Nov. 19-22 at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido.

At the same time, flexibility is their mantra. This is the anti-time-clock generation. They want the freedom to spend an afternoon playing Words with Friends one day, then working 16 hours straight the next to solve a knotty production problem. Work should be evaluated by performance and results, since 69 percent feel that office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis. When polled, 45 percent reveal they prefer work-time flexibility to higher pay.

These are also workers who want to be part of collaborative teams, who want their ideas to be heard and acknowledged. They think of creative solutions and want to have supervisors who are willing to give these solutions a try. In addition, they want immediate feedback for their successes – not plying a wooden Suggestion Box in the break room or waiting for the Employee of the Month certificate. About 77 percent participate in loyalty reward programs. They keep track and are intentional.

There is much to learn about this generation that is becoming the largest generation in human history. And they also have a lot to learn about dealing with the rest of the world, business-wise and socially.

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