I keep seeing posts that have hiring managers feedback that Millennials are very challenging to work with. Here is an example.

In this blog post, I attempt to explain why the Millennials are actually misunderstood. If employers are willing to understand from their point of view, there is a chance to turn them into strong manpower.

Let us look at the following: Generation Timeline I have taken from Wikipedia.


Let us compare to the following Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.


Now let us perhaps do the following matching and you will start to see why they are misunderstood.

Done by Koo Ping Shung :P

Baby Boomers

During the time when Baby Boomers forms the bulk of the workforce, material comforts are not easy to come. There is a very strong relationship between salary/income and material comforts i.e. the more one progress and excel in their job, they get higher salary and thus can buy more material comfort for the family.   Thus their strong focus on getting a good job that pays well and doing everything they can to get that GREAT job!

Generation X

For this generation, they are born in an age where material comforts are in abundance, much provided by the Baby Boomers since likely they are children of. This is where they move to the next level of the hierarchy of needs, which is the Esteem and Belongingness i.e. relationships, friends, prestige and sense of accomplishment. Although I have to admit, the Esteem part may not be that great! It explains why tools that are used to make more friends were high in demand back then, like Friendster, ICQ, MySpace, etc. You have to say the Internet was a godsend for Generation X as it allows them to build network of friends from all over the world!


For this group, material comfort are in abundance and the tools for making friends are in abundance and making it easier (Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Tinder), their MAIN FOCUS will be moving further into the territory of "Esteem Needs". To them, a job needs to have the Esteem element (i.e. sense of accomplishment, prestige, and achieving potential in their own terms). That is why you see the proliferation of the gig economy that gives them the flexibility in time to achieve their potential. It is also a reason why this group of workforce likes remote working, work-life balance, etc. To them the keyword is flexibility, so that they can achieve their potential.

So How Employers?

Start thinking about job re-scoping! Given the technology that we have, perhaps it is time to think about how to re-scope and give the Millenials more flexibility in their work, think about how to gain their loyalty to the job by structuring it in a manner that appeals to their pursuit of potential.

Besides re-scoping, think about employer branding as well! Brand yourself as an employer, what kind of values you stand for. This might help to appeal to the "Esteem Needs" the prestige, and identity they build their sense of belonging.


Personally, I feel Millenials are misunderstood rather. Gen Z and Baby Boomers cannot use their lenses to see Millenials' world anymore. No doubt employers will have more difficulty in hiring but if we do not overcome the difficulties, business will find themselves crash and burn under their own unwillingness to change, to attract the necessary talent for the Knowledge Economy.

What are your thoughts?

This blog post was born from a discussion I have with a good friend and I wanted to document it down and sharpen it further when I have the time. I will love to have a more in-depth discussion with my readers if possible. :)

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