Viewpoint — May 2017

More on the Millennials: Embrace them for they are our Future
by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner Wray Executive Search

Bob Gershberg, Managing Partner/CEO Wray Executive Search

"What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders. They disobey their parents…... Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?" No, not a current diatribe on generation Y, but a proclamation of Plato, circa 400 B.C.

Narcissistic, entitled, disaffected, in need of instant gratification, the attention deficit generation; these are just a few of the oft-repeated millennial criticisms.  Heck, they even won trophies for showing up and placing tenth. Well, my dear boomer contemporaries, do you think your Dad, clad in a starched white shirt was impressed with you when you came home from College with shoulder length hair, torn jeans and a tie-dyed tee shirt? Do you think he looked across the dinner table and thought, this is the next great generation? I think not.

So bury the vision of the twenty-something sitting on the couch with an X-box controller in hand and recognize that they will be the next generation of great innovators. They will drive the economy and the world. And I trust they will do it well. There are 80 million of them. They are true digital natives. Broad exposure and unfiltered instant information is their reality. They are most likely to drive change through their use of cutting-edge technology. They are also likely to participate in solving local and global challenges and to strive for career leadership.

They are burdened with $1.1 trillion in student loans. We will pass on staggering national debt, but they will endure. They are a diverse generation and will be the most racially and ethnically integrated in our history.

Generational conflict in the work place has become a growth industry for consultants and speakers but it is not a viable management perspective. There are and always have been generational differences. Regardless of generation, hire for coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament. It is estimated that by 2025, three quarters of the global work force will be millennials.

There is value in understanding, however, the millennials’ work place expectations:

  • They want to share responsibility, feel empowered and experience success. Their career advancement expectations are aggressive, but why is that a bad thing?
  • They are focused on work/life balance. Perhaps they are wise to embrace this. Why even in the restaurant biz, we’ve stopped scheduling folks 6 days a week. Starbuck’s has committed to more “compassionate” scheduling approaches.
  • They are attracted to ethical organizations and concerned with social responsibility. My advice – become one.
  • They want feedback and need it frequently. Periodic performance reviews are not enough. They are strong communicators and are used to being communicated with regularly. They are concerned with the quality of their work and want you to be as well.  


They will be the next generation of leaders. They will be the next great innovators. They will change the world!

All the best, 


Bob Gershberg |CEO|Managing Partner|
(888) 875-9993 ext 102

Finding tomorrow’s leaders today!


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