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What is a Millennial?

The word ‘millennial’ has been bounced around for years when referring to a generation of people. Years have passed since the birth of the term, so does the concept of a millennial still apply and who to?

When searching for the meaning, a millennial is described as:


a person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000.

“the industry brims with theories on what makes millennials tick”

There are a lot of preconceived notions about what millennials are like and their attitude towards work. Most of which are negative, leading people to move away from being put within the stereotype bracket. With so much hype around millennials, does anyone really know what it means?

Everyone agrees that a millennial is a “young person”. That much is clear from reading the numerous articles found on Google. But what’s the cut-off point? How old do you need to be before you’re not a millennial? Even the Wikipedia article about millennials admits to being baffled by this;

“Most researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s”

Sometimes millennials are called “Generation Y”, the generation following “Generation X” (1965 to 1984) , which causes even more confusion in this minefield of terminology. It is safe to say that they are all the same thing, dependant on what people consider themselves closes to. The only generation we have defined is “Baby Boomers” and that year bracket is from 1946 to 1964.

How did millennials get their name?

Credit for the term “millennial” goes to Neil Howe and William Strauss, who first introduced the word in the mid-90s and wrote Millennials Rising in 2000. It was developed from the book called Generations, which was among the first to explore the idea that groups of individuals share the same qualities such as beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviours based on when they were born. They defined millennials as those born in 1982 and approximately the 20 years thereafter. In 2012, they affixed the end point as 2004.

“Over the next decade, the Millennial Generation will entirely recast the image of youth from downbeat and alienated to upbeat and engaged–with potentially seismic consequences for America.” –from Millennials Rising

Are critics correct?

However, it isn’t to say that all Millennials possess the same traits; these are merely generalisations of a group of people.  Is it right to be placing people into categories – Gen Y, Gen X, baby boomers, Millennial? People want to be treated with respect and dignity despite their age and date of birth. Everyone deserves the opportunity to grow in a company, gain experience and furthermore have a successful career. The success of an individual comes down to their personal drivers and what motivates them. So, we ask you, should we stop generalisation people and let them and their work do the talking?