Stereotypes about Millennials can oversimplify nuances, especially if preferences among different regions of the world are not taken into account. A new global survey of Millennials shows that work-life balance is important, but Millennials are still willing to work hard to advance their careers or achieve leadership roles. (Editor’s Note: This article is based on Part 4 of the survey.)
The conventional wisdom about Millennials declares that they all want to rise rapidly to leadership positions but without working too hard or paying their dues. They also, again according to the conventional wisdom, care more about work/life balance than the usual spoils of success: money and status. A new world-wide study of Millennials conducted in 2014 and co-sponsored by the INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute, the HEAD Foundation and Universum reveals that the conventional wisdom is right on some issues, wrong in some key details, and makes the mistake of homogenizing the generation: the study, which surveyed Millennials in 43 countries, shows that Millennials in different regions of the world don’t have the exact same aspirations and attributes.
For example, nearly 70% of those surveyed said becoming a leader is ‘important’ or ‘very important,’ but their reasons for wanting to be leaders were surprisingly diverse. High future earnings was the most common reason given (36% of overall respondents), although 50% of respondents from Central and Eastern Europe considered money very important compared to only 17% of African respondents. In Africa, opportunities to coach and mentor others was the most common reason given for aspiring to become a leader, a response that enthused few of the Millennials in other regions. Another response, opportunities to influence the company or organization, was quite popular in Central and Eastern Europe (more than 45%) as well as in the United States (41%), but did poorly (about 25%) in the Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern regions.
Other survey questions related to leadership and professional goals also revealed a diversity of opinions and called into question or tempered the conventional wisdom:
Decisions on recruiting, onboarding, leadership and development will be impacted by the implications of the research:
You Got Us Wrong: Millennials Prove They Are Divers In Their Career Aspirations and Desire for Work-Life Balance. Henrik Bresman. Part Four of Understanding a Misunderstood Generation (2014).
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