Corporate America Needs to Change for Millennials

A new report suggests deep changes for society by our youngest adults. It's called How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America.

Business people working together in  office
By Hal M. Bundrick

Millennials, generally defined as adults in their early 30s and younger, are gradually beginning to redefine America's priorities, from profits to purpose. Rather than reflecting the competitive and combative attitude of baby boomers, Generation Y rallies to marketing related causes and the acquisition of experiences rather than things.

It is a generational shift just now beginning to impact the nation, according to Morley Winograd, a senior fellow at the University of Southern California and Michael Hais, a former vice president for entertainment research at Frank N. Magid Associates. The authors have released a new Brookings Institution report "How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America."

"The initial tremors are already changing consumer markets and forcing corporations to change their workplace practices," say Winograd and Hais in the report. "But soon, as millennials become an increasingly large share of the adult population and gather more and more wealth, the generation's size and unity of belief will cause seismic shifts in the nation's financial sector, shaking it to its very foundations and leading to major changes in the nation's board rooms."

A Great Career in Tech or the Government

That change is reflected in a list of "dream employers" Millennials want to work for. The authors note a survey of 10,000 millennials having one to eight years of job experience that was fielded by the consulting firm of Universum in 2011. The usual suspects topped the list: Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB). But the U.S. State Department ranked fourth, the FBI seventh and the CIA 10th. Other than technology companies, government agencies occupied the most slots in the list of the top 15 most coveted places to work.

The rankings of dream jobs goes to the heart of a recent Intelligence Group study that found that 64 percent of millennials saying they would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love rather than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring.

"In the future, most Americans, taking their cue from millennials, will demonstrate a greater desire to advance the welfare of the group and be less concerned with individual success," the report says. "They will be less worried about being guided in their daily decisions by software and more intrigued by the opportunities it offers. Even without any major environmental disaster, they will display a greater reverence for the environment and less interest in the acquisition of things as opposed to experiences."

By 2020, more than one in three adult Americans will be millennials. It is also estimated that by 2025, they will make up as much as 75 percent of the workforce.

"Companies that dedicate their future to changing the world for the better and find ways to make it happen will be rewarded with the loyalty of millennials as customers, workers and investors for decades to come," the report concludes. "Those that choose to hang on to outdated cultures and misplaced priorities are likely to lose the loyalties of the millennial generation and with it their economic relevance."

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Funny, the same things were said about the baby boomers and I suspect every younger generation. Alas, altruism soon meets the realities of raising a family, paying for college etc. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: A young man who is not liberal has no heart, an old man who is not conservative has no brain.

June 09 2014 at 8:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to michaelnucci's comment

The boomers were never altruistic. They have been know since nearly day one as the greediest most self-centered generation of all time.

June 09 2014 at 6:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Millenials need to get off their ass, stop whining, and go to work.

June 09 2014 at 8:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I spoke to a 24 year old millenial with a masters degree and she said like you know I'm like looking for um like a job that I can like meet with a lot of like people you know and like teach them like how to like communicate with each other to make the world a like better place and like love each other and like plan for a like family in the future you know? Good luck! She is a communication major.

June 09 2014 at 6:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Everything changes. Get used to it people. The greed that runs this country now will be replaced.We can't yet be sure by what but it is certain that everything changes. Everything!

June 09 2014 at 6:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A Great Career in Tech or the Government.... Other than technology companies, government agencies occupied the most slots in the list of the top 15 most coveted places to work......

Oh great, .just what we need - more imbeciles for the private sector to support.

June 08 2014 at 2:18 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Millennials need to get their heads out of the clouds, we don't live in a Star Trek fantasy world where people work solely for the betterment of mankind. Business is, and always will be driven by profit motivation, and it will be decades before millennials have fully supplanted those who run the capitalist driven market.

June 08 2014 at 8:29 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply