Millennials & Business: Are We Agents of Change?

Many people believe that today's young professionals will be agents of social change, especially with the emerging foundations for CSR and social entrepreneurship. But is it true? Are the professionals of Generation Y substantially different from previous generations? According to a Pew Center survey, the answer to this question is no-- Millennials' business opinions do not diverge from their predecessors from previous generations (the Gen Xers and the Baby Boomers).

On an index of attitudes about business power and profits, Millennials' opinions resemble those of Gen Xers and the Silent Generation. Millennials are also less critical of business than the Baby Boomers. When compared with older generations, Millennials were not more likely to say that "big companies have too much power." Millennials are just as likely as other cohorts to say that business is the foundation for America's strength. Compared with older adults, a higher percentage of Millennials supported the idea that "business corporations generally strike a fair balance between making profits and serving the public interest." In any case, Millenials are split with regards to the question of who has more power--government or business.

At the same time, Millennials are less likely to be employed full time than Generation Xers. They are twice as likely to work part time than Generation Xers or the Baby Boom generation. In the last four years, the number of 18-to-29 year old full time workers has dropped; however, the number has not changed for working adults. For some, the recession has forced Millennials to take part time work instead of full time work. For others, the recession has delayed entry into the workforce.

Even though Millennials experience hardship in the workforce, they may be "on track to emerge as the most educated generation ever." Approximately 1-in-5 Millennials are college graduates while 26% are in school,and 30% are out of school but have plans to pursue a college degree. Some Millennials work, and others are in school-- 24% do both and are employed while seeking an education.

More than one-third of Millennials rely on their families for financial help. Younger Millennials (who are more likely to be in school) are more likely to receive support from their parents. While 33% of whites rely on their parents for financial help, 33% of blacks and 28% of Hispanics rely on their parents as well.

According the Pew Center, Millennials who are older and employed may be "the happiest workers in America." More than one-third of employed Millennials describe their job satisfaction as "very happy," while 29% of Baby Boomers and 27% of Gen Xers feel the same way.

According to this survey, we're highly educated, but we're also alright with the status quo. Will our generation become the generation that makes CSR the norm?

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