logo image

TD Magazine Article

Generation Discrimination

Generational stereotypes are rarely supported by enough data.


Tue Jul 08 2014

Generation Discrimination-d231073552c0774d7757c3aae9481f8a6bf1a5b9c5e7251514233a265b113bd8

Millennial employees have been hit with numerous stereotypes, many of them negative. Among the most common labels: lazy, entitled, and disloyal. Imagine if we talked about ethnic groups this way.

Businesses must look more closely to truly understand Millennials and their impact on the workforce. For example, consider the claim that they are "less loyal" than other generations in the workplace. This stereotype is based on one piece of surface-level data: average tenure, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says is 3.2 years.


But when we consider a fuller set of data, a different picture emerges:

  • According to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute, 14.5 percent of Millennials are unemployed today, which is twice the overall unemployment rate.

  • According to the same report, 44 percent of recent college graduates are underemployed, meaning that they are holding jobs that do not require a college degree.

  • The reduction in benefits at most organizations has been drastic.

  • Millennials have, like other generations, experienced seasonal layoffs and the continued effects of the economic downturn.

These data suggest that Millennial employees' shorter-than-average tenure is a result of all these factors. The implications of using limited data to uphold stereotypes about a large swath of the workforce are significant:

  • Operating behind stereotypes, business leaders could make misguided long-term business decisions.

  • Generational stereotypes create an "us versus them" mentality in organizations, which gets in the way of effective collaboration.

  • Stereotypes enable age discrimination.

It's time to start a new discussion—one that is based on the full set of facts—so that we can understand the true impact the Millennial generation has on the workforce.

You've Reached ATD Member-only Content

Become an ATD member to continue

Already a member?Sign In


July 2014 - TD Magazine

View Articles

Copyright © 2024 ATD

ASTD changed its name to ATD to meet the growing needs of a dynamic, global profession.

Terms of UsePrivacy NoticeCookie Policy