Millennials or generation Y there is a lot of research and opinions out about my generation. But Does all or any really apply to me my friends my life? How about the generation Z and X? I am a millennial & I have been a people manager since 2005 hiring managing international teams that have generation X,Y and Z here is my experience and opinion about it.

What Millennials Want: Be Fair, Be Honest, Be Real

What actually is Generation X,Y & Z ?

Generally generation X means normally those born between 1960 / 1961 and 1980

Generation Y means normally those born between 1977 /1980 and 1995

Generation Z means normally those born between 1995/2000

US Authors, historians and consultants William Strauss & Neil Howe are credited with first naming a group of people born in the 1980 is millennials because they graduated high school and entered university or work life in the 2000s.

Some other researchers like the US insurance company Met Life has time lined millennials as born between 1977 and 1994.

What has really influenced us millennials and what generation X & Z:

Most of the publications and research about Millennials or generation X and Z focuses on the US population.

Can this easily be translated into other countries cultures and populations?

In Europe for example not only generations but people in general have very different influences, habits and factors that influence us.

The recent financial crisis influenced those in Spain or Ireland with more than a decade long job crises more than those in the US or Germany were the job recovery happened faster.

In France the ongoing experience with horrible terror attacks influenced people and generations in the last years more than in many other parts of the world. In the US gun violence and major mass shootings influenced and impacted people and generations more than in Europe.

An overview of how we were impacted in different generations

Impacts / Characteristic

Generation X

Generation Y


Generation Z

Major Events and factors that influenced a generation

  • Cold War Conflict

  • Fall Of The Berlin Wall

  • Break Down Of UDSSR

  • Colour TV and TV text

  • Amiga 500 &

  • Commodore 64

  • First PCs

  • Windows

  • Office

  • Atari &

  • Game Boy

  • First Mobile Phones / NOKIA

  • First Euphoria bout the Internet and first big .com crash in 2000

  • Globalisation impacting lives directly

  • 9/11 Terror Attacks

  • War on Terror

  • Ongoing Conflicts in the middle east

  • The 2007 Financial crises

  • New TV show format “reality TV” (Big brother etc.)

  • Increasing frustration with politics and a rise of Populists

  • Lack of trust in banks and politics

  • Job loss & job insecurity

  • Google docs, maps, earth , you tube & social media

  • Global warming

  • Increasing globalisation

  • Impacts of the 2007 financial crises into a decade long economic crises

  • Job uncertainty

  • Unstable job / work situations

  • Shared economy boom (share a home :Airbnb or share a car : drive-now etc.)

  • Crowd funding and crowd financing boom

  • Bitcoin boom

  • Globalisation directly impacting lives

  • Lack of trust in institutions news media and media in general (fake news / Wikileaks

Personal Goals & Career Goals

  • Own a home and a car have a good work life balance — work to live not living to work

  • Carer within a company or organization

  • Own a home share sharing a car

  • Freedom and flexibility good work life balance and having the opportunity to earn / develop fast

  • Being loyal to a career path not necessarily to companies or organisations

  • Being highly flexible and adaptable in career and life

  • Experienced in sharing their thoughts and life on social media & in real life homes, cars, bikes etc.

  • Status symbol is not a own car or home but a smartphone tablet or clothes

Communication preferences

Phone, face to face,email

  • Mobile texting and voice messaging (Whatsapp, Facebook etc.)

  • Phone email and Skype

  • Google hangouts

  • Mobile text and voice messaging

  • Snap-chat,Whatsapp, Facebook etc.

We ALL are impacted by everything :


Job insecurity for example is never a thing owned or experienced only by a specific generation. We all are constantly impacted by developments and experiences and no matter what year we are born in we all have to learn adapt constantly.

There are new influences like social media addiction which may impact some generations more than others at the end of the day we all have to face the challenges we globally individually and currently have.

Based on major impacts happening to us we might have a different preference how to approach something or how to communicate.

Millennials probably had first a NOKIA phone that was there to call someone before getting a smart phone and generation X might even remember a world without mobile phones push alarms and instant messaging.

Whilst Generation Z played with X-box and the Sony PlayStation Millennials used to grow up with C-64, Amiga 500, Atari and the game boy.

Certainly we approach communication or life in different ways based on how we grew up.

But the smart phone and social media does not only concern one specific generation. The experience of the financial crises impacts everyone regardless of when we are born.

We ALL are looking for fairness honesty and genuine people :


To suggest that millennials or generation Z is a naive, simple minded, self focused or lazy generation is as wrong as to assume that generation X does not use smart phones.

Maybe millennials and generation Z are the most challenged generations facing an ongoing brutal waive of terror attacks since nearly two decades, facing the impact of the financial crises, global warming and having less income and opportunities than their parents.

Sharing homes on Airbnb or cars on drive now is not a fancy trend it became a necessity since the cost of a car or an own home is currently not realistic for many.

If companies are led to the point that millennials and generation Z only want to be manipulated with gimmicks or the purpose of their job then this is simply wrong,

Millennials and generation Z want to master the challenges they have in the best way possible, and we want to be taken seriously.

Companies that tried to manipulate employees with free meals in exchange for free overtime and a way to a burnout are actually not very successful in keeping their employees.

Millennials actually want a stable job, fair conditions and a fair salary for their work— just like any other generation before us as well.

Instead of gimmicks or self created company culture and constant branding employers might get rid of the gimmicks and start thinking about a fair work life balance and proper salaries and work conditions.

Here’s how long employees are staying at the 10 biggest companies in tech

,according to Paysa a company which publicizes salary data. :

Facebook: 2.02 years

  • Google: 1.90 years
  • Oracle: 1.89 years
  • Apple: 1.85 years
  • Amazon: 1.84 years
  • Twitter: 1.83 years
  • Microsoft: 1.81 years
  • Airbnb: 1.64 years
  • Snap Inc.: 1.62 years
  • Uber: 1.23 years

What Really Matters To Millennials

  • Fairness instead of being artificial as a person or an employer be real be honest and be fair we can find artificial people and lives on Instagram or Facebook already

  • Do not focus on gimmicks or an image that is not really lived by you as a person or as a company with all the social media and reality TV we millennials are getting tired of facades and look for being real

  • Millennials face an enormous amount of challenges in their lives and in general we look for support not for being played with if we want to play we can turn to our smartphones PlayStations or Xboxes

  • Establish a new way of trust in the last years not only banks but many companies lately Facebook have dis-earned our trust that can lead to us looking for alternatives like bitcoin or crowd financing instead of banking

What is important to consider

  • Different generations had different major events that influenced them in addition the learning growing never stops and older generations just add on new experiences

  • Generalisations like Generation Y or Z does not care about money but purpose at work are very simple and mostly wrong. Until now even in the bitcoin age most of us regardless of generation work to earn real money

  • Owning a car or a home has become unrealistic in the decade of crises most went through, therefore more and more is shared weather homes, holiday homes, cars or many other things.

  • Smart phones or clothes and social media likes are the new status symbols for those who need them

What to consider when hiring managing or working with generation X,Y & Z


Do millennials really only want food at work? Are we really only happy when we have breakfast, lunch and dinner at work so that we stay in an office all-day?

Is generation X really not using social and mobile technology?

In my experience a lot of that generation based stereotyping is not applicable to people. Human beings are far more complex and adaptive then being a able to put into one characterisation.

We all again and again try to put others or a group of people into a certain box, I recommend to have a closer look. Although there might be main impacts influencing different generations and new technologies being adapted in different ways I would not argue to approach everyone as they are and next month some one could be a different person than they have been this month.

What we all have in-common across all generations is the gift to learn,change, adapt and develop ourselves.

How to manage millennials and generation X & Z

  • Approach each one individually and see what is important to them do not focus too much on generational stereotypes

  • Hire people regardless of generation who want to do the job and have the right attitude skills and knowledge can be taught if there is a willingness to learn and a humbleness to know that we don’t know everything

  • Loyalty and committent comes more from how we approach people and treat them less from gimmicks or implemented benefit structures empowered people managers could have more of an impact than generalised company wide programs

Conclusion Who are we really Millennials? And How about Generation X,Y & Z What Do We Really Want?

  • Millennials are influenced by other impacts than most previous generations but most of them are not necessarily great
  • Millennials and generation have to face more challenges and live with less than their parent generation
  • Millennials are losing their trust when treated like easy to manipulate idiots they want fairness and less gimmicks at work and in life

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