Millennials: Who Are They?

Millennials are frequently defined as those born between the early 1980s and the 2000s, or as those who came of age in or around the year 2000. While there’s no universally agreed upon definition of what “Millennials” are, there are plenty of commonly held beliefs about what they are like, including, on the negative side, spoiled, entitled, and allergic to hard work—and, on the positive side, creative, optimistic, and forward-thinking.

2012 survey of 1,291 US workers from CareerBuilder and Inavero revealed that:

  • 81% of Millennials are either actively searching for new jobs or are open to new opportunities, regardless of their current employment status.

  • 82% of Millennials are willing to relocate for the right position.

  • Only 22% of Millennial workers “strongly agree” that they are satisfied in their careers.

  • The average length of time a Millennial remains in a job is three years.

These are all fascinating findings, but how much do they really tell us about Millennials as a group? And what are the implications of this data for the workplace of the future? 

Catalyst Took a Closer Look

That’s exactly what Catalyst set out to discover with our Millennial Community Engagement Initiative: Setting the Record Straight, a series of community-building activities designed to engage Millennials around the world in discussions of issues relevant to their lives and careers. As part of this initiative, we conducted a series of short online polls on provocative topics and shared the results in a series of infographics:
Revealing the Real Millennials
Revealing the Real Millennials: Successes and Aspirations
Revealing the Real Millennials: Career Expectations
Revealing the Real Millennials: Workplace Gender Bias

Our latest research indicates that Millennial women and Millennial men have very different perceptions of gender bias and its impact on careers. Here’s what we discovered:

  • Women and men agree discrimination is an issue—but more women than men think it’s an ongoing problem. A large majority (90%) of Millennial women and a small majority (57%) of Millennial men say that gender discrimination is an issue in today’s workplace.

  • Women are more likely to experience it—47% of Millennial women report that they have personally experienced gender discrimination; only 5% of Millennial men say they have personally experienced discrimination.

  • Women and men disagree about whether inherent workplace biases hold women back. Over 80% of Millennial women but only 43% of Millennial men agree that there are inherent biases that hold women back.

  • Many women and few men expect to be negatively impacted by gender discrimination. Nearly 80% of Millennial women expect gender discrimination to negatively impact their careers; only 14% of men expect the same.

  • More women than men believe the gender pay gap is real—and significant. Over 80% of Millennial women believe a significant gender pay gap exists; 43% of Millennial men believe the same.

  • More women than men believe overt discrimination against women leads to lower pay and fewer opportunities to advance. Nearly two-thirds of Millennial women believe this; approximately one-third of Millennial men share that belief.

  • More men than women believe that if women try as hard as men, they can be as successful as men. Less than one-third of Millennial women and over two-thirds of Millennial men believe this.