Express Employment Professionals recently teamed up with the School of Media and Strategic Communications at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater, OK, to conduct research about Millennials and their attitudes toward the American Dream. Also known as “Gen Y,” Millennials were born between 1979 and 1995 and make up 30% of the population. As they enter the workforce and establish career paths, it’s important to understand the motives and desires behind this robust generation.
Express and OSU students surveyed Millennials, the majority of whom are working full or part time, to examine this generation’s attitudes on social values and whether those values have any influence on purchasing habits and career decisions.
A Social Generation
When asked how much time they spend on social media accounts, the majority of Millennials (44%) reported spending 3—5 hours on social media every day. Additionally, 42% spend less than two hours on social media accounts daily, followed by 12% who spend 6—9 hours daily and 2% who spend 10 or more hours daily.
According to the survey, Millennials live up to the stereotype of spending more time on social media than older generations. Compared to the 42% of Millennials who report spending less than two hours a day on social media accounts, 64% of Non-Millennials selected this option. Only 30% of Non-Millennials spend 3—5 hours a day on social media accounts, compared to 44% of Millennials.
The Relevance of Social Movements
While social media use has grown, so have social movements that involve these platforms. Millennials were asked which social movements they are familiar with, and the results include:
- Ice Bucket Challenge – 95%
- Starbucks Cup Controversy – 80%
- Black Lives Matter – 79%
- Yes All Women – 34%
- It Gets Better – 22%
Social Values and Important Decisions
Social media movements aren’t the only cultural trend catching the attention of Millennials. When it comes to social values, they want their voices to be heard. Survey respondents ranked social values in order of importance, and the results are as follows:
- Religious freedom
- Equal pay
- Gun control
- Police brutality
- Environmental issues
Because social values are relevant to Millennials, it’s no surprise that issues they deem important may impact their purchasing and career path decisions. On a scale of one to five, where five is highly likely, Millennials ranked the following scenarios:
- “How likely are you to let relevant social issues affect your purchasing decisions?” – 2.83
- “How likely are you to publicly express your views on a controversial social issue?” – 3.52
- “How likely are you to let a company’s record or position on relevant social issues affect your desire to work for that company?” – 3.22
According to the survey, Millennials believe they have the ability to change their community, country, and even world in their lifetimes. When it comes to community impact, Millennials feel strongest about their potential to affect change. In fact, only about 5% of respondents believe they don’t have the ability to positively change their communities, compared to nearly 30% who believe they don’t have the ability to change the world. Forty percent of respondents believe they can strongly affect their local community, while 15% believe they can strongly affect the world.