Generation Y: sheltered and risk-averse, or connected consensus-builders?

Generational labels should be taken with a grain of salt but they do capture something about changing trends and values. Baby boomers, born from 1943 up until the early 1960s, are characterised by some experts as idealists and moralists (really?) who fought over war, gender inequality and race. Generation X, born between the early 1960s and early ‘80s, is described as economically conservative and disaffected (from their hip parents?). Generation Y, also known as the millennials, born any time between the late 1970s and early 2000s, are said to have grown up sheltered and risk-averse.

But the post-X generation are harder to lump together than previous cohorts. Reared on rapid-fire internet connections and cheap airline tickets, and pressured to obtain multiple academic degrees, many grew up with an array of options their parents or older siblings did not have. Although this has led to many “subcultures”, overall the millennials invest heavily in communication and are said to prefer consensus building to adversarial politics. Known for political disengagement, they have now started to vote in larger numbers. Someone predicts that businesses will accommodate them by creating more team projects.

In America they elude being defined by September 11 or the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Other possibilities: generation student loan and credit card; generation Facebook/MySpace; generation Atari/Nintendo… ~ Washington Post, July 6


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