The Millennial Divide

Millennials are the largest generation in today’s workforce. As they age into their 30s and 40s, they will be stepping up into more senior leadership positions, guiding the future economy of the US.

Having entered the workforce just before, during or immediately following the Great Recession, millennials have acclimated to volatility in their careers, but the unforeseen events of COVID-19 are hitting many millennials at key life stages in which they are hitting the metaphorical gas pedal on their careers or even entrepreneurism, as well as when they are starting or growing families. The financial starting points at which millennials came into the pandemic are creating unequal future pathways for employees and are leading to growing distrust and skepticism of employers and businesses at large.

Going forward, companies will need to double down on engaging their millennial workforce, especially those at lower pay levels and in more junior positions, proactively easing the growing frustrations of their employees in this cohort. One message will not suit all though, and the wrong message could risk ostracizing lower-income millennials who are already starting to feel overlooked. Companies and leaders will need to work harder to quickly address the individual concerns and perceived inequalities of millennial employees by tailoring programs and custom communications towards the needs and anxieties of these different groups. Taking action now—before disparities become a point of contention—will position companies to develop loyalty in what can be a fickle millennial workforce.

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