30 Ways Millennials Are Winning

By Rosunnara R.
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While it’s easy to make fun of millennials for being lazy, entitled, or paying too much for avocado toast, there are actually many things millennials do better than previous generations. Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials are projected to become the largest U.S. adult population group, so it’s no surprise that they will disrupt how things have "always been done."

From changing the workforce for the better to being the most charitable generation, here are 30 ways millennials are winning. Some of these findings may surprise you.                            

Millennials Are Environmentally Conscious

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, get plenty of bad press. But is it awful that they want to reduce pollution or their carbon footprint? Many millennials believe in climate change. As a result, they drive less and ride public transportation 40 percent more than Baby Boomers and Generation X. If they’re not using local transit, millennials will also consider carpooling.

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Will this item contribute to a healthy environment? Is it cruelty-free? These are the kind of questions that millennials ask before purchasing. Keeping the environment in mind, millennials support sustainable products. The younger generation is willing to drop more money on eco-friendly goods, like clothes from Everlane and Patagonia. Millennials are also big fans of sustainable chocolate and coffee.

They’re More Generous

Although other generations believe millennials are lazy, greedy or broke, they’re still the most charitable generation. Generation Y (Gen Y) is more likely to donate money to causes than having the donation deducted from their paychecks. They also enjoy donating goods. But before they give away items to charity, millennials research the foundation to make sure it’s legitimate.

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More than 70 percent of Gen Yers volunteer at least an hour per year. They use either unpaid or paid time off to give back to the community. Many millennials also participate in company-wide volunteer days, using their skills and expertise to benefit causes they are passionate about.

They're Changing the Work Landscape

Gen Y dominates the workforce. By 2025, they’ll take up 75 percent of the job market. Instead of just following the money, millennials prioritize job fulfillment. They’re turning their backs on dead-end jobs and looking for a meaningful career. Employers that offer career growth and challenging work attract more millennials.

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How else is the workplace changing? Gen Y wants to be financially stable while using their job to make an impact. They support and expect diversity and prefer collaboration over competition. Many millennials also take risks and welcome failure. To appeal to this growing workforce, companies realize they must adapt to the younger generations’ wants and needs.

Millennials Are Committed to Their Employers

Other generations slam millennials for job-hopping, but they should see the track record for Generation X (anyone born between 1961 and 1981). Millennials stay with their employers longer than Generation X (Gen X) workers did when they were the same age. On average, millennials stick with their jobs between three and six years, while Gen X only stayed at each job for an average of one year.

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Believe it or not, millennials are also workaholics. Other generations think millennials work less, but they’re actually taking fewer vacations to work more. Almost 24 percent of millennials don’t take vacations, as opposed to 19 percent of Gen Xers and 17 percent of Baby Boomers (Boomers).

They Push for a Flexible Working Environment

Millennials value flexibility over a high salary at work. They prefer using laptops over computers at their jobs, so they can easily work from home or remotely. They’re also leaving the traditional 9-5 workday behind. Being able to connect from anywhere at any time means odd work hours. 

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Some companies are bending traditional work rules to keep and attract employees. Companies want to fit with their employees’ modern-day lives, especially millennials who are seeking the best work-life balance. With a more flexible work environment, employees can increase productivity.

Millennials Are Better Educated

Millennials are inquisitive. They love to learn and it shows. More than 34 percent of millennials have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 15 percent of the Silent Generation (anyone born between 1925 and 1945) and 29 percent of Gen Xers.

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Although millennials are taking on more student debt than previous generations, more of them are graduating from school. Among millennials, women surpass men in college completion rates, reversing the trend set by previous generations.

Being Tech-Savvy is a Big Asset

Staying updated on all the new technological trends isn’t easy, but millennials are good at adapting to digital changes. They have plenty of experience from managing their lives with mobile apps and the internet. Being tech-savvy is a highly useful skill for millennials, who can make the workplace more efficient.

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Millennials can communicate with people faster through multiple means, like e-mail and social media. For companies that need to answer their customers’ questions, this is a huge advantage. Response time will be quicker when businesses have many different ways to communicate and millennials who can quickly master those channels.

Millennials Are Culturally Diverse

Racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. is growing and they show no signs of stopping because of millennials. Only 51.5 percent of millennials are non-Hispanic white, compared to 84 percent of the Silent Generation.

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Both immigration and an increase in interracial relationships contribute to changes in the country’s racial and ethnic makeup. Hispanic and Asian immigrant populations have grown since the Boomer generation. Views on interracial relationships are also shifting because more people believe that "marrying someone of a different race is good for society."

They Love Public Libraries

Public libraries are not dead; they’re actually thriving. How is that possible in today’s digital world? Believe it or not, millennials value public libraries more than any other generation. According to a Pew Research Center study, 53 percent of millennials went to a public library in the last 12 months, compared to 45 percent of Gen Xers and 43 percent of Boomers.

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With free library services like community group meetings, fun local events and lectures, how can millennials resist? Besides taking advantage of the computers and free internet, millennials also borrow new gadgets from libraries. It looks like libraries aren’t going anywhere.

They Love Dogs

Fewer millennials are having babies, but many of them are adopting fur babies. The younger generation takes the concept of "man’s best friend" to a new extreme. For instance, a TD Ameritrade survey found that 56 percent of millennials are dog owners, and consider their dog as an important part of the family. 

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Having a dog while renting can be more expensive and stressful. As a result, millennials may consider buying a home. A recent survey by SunTrust Mortgage reported that some millennials are more likely to buy a home when they want their dog to have a more comfortable living situation.

The Business-Starters

Other generations think millennials are lazy, but could it be that they just don’t like working behind a desk or for someone else? Millennials are ambitious go-getters, so they’ll quit their jobs to become entrepreneurs and run their own companies. Just think about it; without millennials, we wouldn’t have Facebook, Wordpress or Spotify.

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Millennials have started twice as many businesses as Boomers have. Michelle Phan is a famous millennial, who created a successful empire that sells quality goods. She built a $500 million beauty company called Ipsy, which ships out more than 1.5 million subscription boxes every month.

They Want to Make a Difference

Previous generations allege that millennials are only interested in themselves. However, they actually care about the state of the world. About 61 percent of millennials feel personally responsible to make the world a better place. They participate in social activism efforts like signing petitions, fundraising for causes and spreading awareness about issues.

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As big supporters of social equality and universal access to food and clean water, it seems millennials have a big appetite for change. Diseases, like cancer and Alzheimer’s, motivate them to find a cure. The younger generation is also worried about climate change, so they try to adapt eco-friendly lifestyles to curb it.

The Optimistic Generation

Despite dealing with economic and social woes, millennials are more confident and upbeat than generations that came before them. Almost half of millennials believe that the country’s future will get better, compared to 42 percent of Gen Xers and 44 percent of Boomers.

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Millennials also have a positive outlook on their personal finances, while facing student debt, poverty and unemployment. A Charles Schwab survey found that 81 percent of millennials felt confident in reaching their financial goals, as opposed to 65 percent of Gen Xers and 54 percent of Boomers.

Multitaskers Extraordinaire

Rewiring the brain sounds like something straight out of science fiction, but millennials have grown up doing just that. Since childhood, millennials have trained their brains to use mobile devices while watching TV and talking to friends at the same time. 

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Millennials also multitasked in college, using social media while writing essays. These same people are now in the workforce, where they can both focus on the job and use their mobile phones. The younger generation can switch tasks quickly, putting a fresh perspective on different projects.

Millennials Are More Informed

Older adults claim that millennials spend too much time on social media, laughing at memes and nonsense. Although millennials do look at memes, they’re also reading the news online through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit and Tumblr. About 88 percent of millennials receive their news from Facebook.

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Social media platforms offer news that TV often doesn’t share. Millennials engage with the news by liking stories, sharing and commenting. They’re introduced to a mix of opinions and views that they take into consideration and research. As a result, Gen Y is better able to differentiate between factual news statements and opinions than their elders.

More Civically Engaged

Millennials are highly woke and politically aware. Taking action in nationwide movements, they’ve been part of Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter. They also had a higher voter turnout, changing the political landscape and electing Barack Obama as the first African American president in 2008.

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Millennials aren’t afraid to call out the nation’s problems and demand social justice. Many social issues, including police brutality, sexism and homophobia anger them. When celebrities and politicians don’t speak out on social issues, millennials pressure them to use their platform for good.

More Aware of Mental Health

As the most stressed, depressed and anxious generation, millennials know plenty about mental health. In the past, talking about mental health was taboo. But millennials want to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, saying instead that it should be a priority like physical health.

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Millennials want to make mental health a more acceptable topic to discuss. By sharing their feelings, moods and thoughts on social media, Gen Y can connect with others and learn that they’re not alone in their experience. They’re also more accepting of people suffering from mental illness. As a result, many bloggers, vloggers and celebrities have opened up about their struggles to fans.

They Want to Better Manage Their Finances

Millennials are known to live frugally, but they’re trying to save money for their future. They’ve realized they need to start saving at a younger age to live comfortably during retirement. According to the financial services firm, Fidelity, 83 percent of Gen Yers contribute to a 401(k).

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Many millennials are concerned about the economy and its impact on their plans to save. Some Gen Yers save because they think social security won’t exist by the time they retire. As a result, more than a third of millennials have a financial plan, compared to 21 percent of Gen Xers and 18 percent of Boomers.

More Accepting

Millennials are more tolerant than the generations that came before them because they value equality. Support for gay rights is at an all-time high among millennials. In fact, 72 percent of Gen Yers support gay rights, compared to 46 percent of Boomers.

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As the generation who are more open to gay rights, millennials are changing attitudes towards homosexuality. Gen Y supports same-sex marriage, believing same-sex couples should have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. In other words, they ultimately believe "love is love."

More Health-Conscious

Previous generations make fun of millennials for killing many industries, including beer and cereal. However, Gen Y is actually looking out for their health. They’re eating healthier and exercising more. Drinking beer and smoking are less appealing to them. Millennials have swapped out sugary cereals for foods that are high in fiber, protein and nutrition.

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Besides ditching unhealthy food and embracing better alternatives, Gen Y has been using different tools to track their health. They use fitness and healthcare apps, like MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and Nike+. Speaking to physicians and reading information online are also ways that Gen Y is staying on top of their health.

They Still Have Happy Relationships

Just because fewer millennials are getting married, doesn’t mean they’ve quit relationships completely. A happy relationship takes effort. Being a good partner is important to Gen Y, so they’re willing to go to therapy, learn how to communicate effectively and resolve a problem after a fight.

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Many Gen Yers are content with their relationship status, but those who are single are motivated to find love. Millennial women want a romantic relationship where partners are equal. Many Gen Yers look for new relationships on dating apps, like Tinder, Hinge and Bumble.

Getting Creative With Fitness

Millennials are known to be health-conscious and exercise frequently, but they aren’t sticking with the typical running routine. There are more fitness options available than in the past. Gen Y fully supports this, changing their routines and trying new workouts. But what do they choose?

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Noncompetitive, yet fun fitness activities attract millennials, including yoga, pilates, meditation, cycling and boutique fitness. They also look for workouts with personalized attention from a teacher or fitness trainer. Stress and anxiety are at an all time high among millennials, so exercise is a great way for them to deal with their mental health.

Quality Service is King

Millennials have huge spending power. Guess where they’ve decided to spend their money? Quality services. They’ve helped bring better entertainment into the world with giant streaming services, such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Studies found that Gen Y’s favorite genres are drama, reality TV, comedy and documentaries.

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Other great services that many millennials support are those that deliver, especially food. Grubhub, Seamless and at-home meal kits are on the rise. Fast-casual dining is a big part of life now. UPS and other delivery companies stay busy too because millennials order almost everything online.

Brands With Positive Purposes Are Important

Will these purchases make me feel good and help others? Before buying, 84 percent of millennials will question a brand’s values and ethics. They’re interested in companies that show authenticity. Gen Yers are twice as likely to research a company’s social responsibility statements than Boomers.

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Companies that have helped those less fortunate attract more millennial buyers. For instance, Warby Parker sells stylish and fun glasses, but the company also serves a good purpose. The business donates a pair to someone in need for each purchase. Bombas and TOMS also have similar business models.

They Participate in the Sharing Economy

Although fewer Gen Yers own cars and homes, more of them are contributing to the sharing economy’s growth. The sharing economy provides cheaper goods and services, so it fits well within a millennial’s budget. Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are available in more cities, and are highly popular among Gen Y. Co-working space businesses like WeWork are also a big hit among millennial freelancers and entrepreneurs who wish to work remotely. WeWork currently has 450 locations in 87 cities.

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Airbnb’s business is booming thanks to millennials. The company allows homeowners to rent out their place to travelers. The majority of Airbnb listings are more affordable than hotels. It’s also a great way for homeowners to make extra money on the side. In addition, Airbnb supports the community by providing free accommodation to people impacted by natural disasters.

Millennials Prefer Experiences over Materials

Millennials are choosing experiences over things. By creating more unique experiences and contributing to the sharing economy, Gen Y spearheads this trend. As the world is becoming more digitally-focused, ownership is becoming less important. According to studies, Gen Y values experiences more because experiences make them more happy in the long run.

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Experiences such as hiking and traveling are easy to share with others through pictures online. Gen Y ditches buying board games for escape rooms. They would rather attend bar crawls and scavenger hunts than have the basic bar experience. Gen Y is also making running more fun by adding bubbles and rock bands to marathons.

They Choose Their Own Priorities

Previous generations often criticize millennials for not starting a family or owning a home. However, their priorities are very different from older adults. Making your own path is important to millennials. They don’t want to accept the norm that their parents did: go to college, get a job, get married and have children.

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Instead, millennials are really considering what’s right for their lives. Focusing on becoming financially stable, making a difference and staying healthy are the top priorities for Gen Y. They’re saving marriage, children and home ownership for later or not at all.

Creative and Resourceful

Gen Y gave the internet a makeover, making websites that are visually appealing and easy to use, so it’s no surprise that millennials are creative. From building an app to making vlogs, millennials are taking advantage of their innovative side. If there’s a problem, millennials aren’t afraid to invent something to solve it.

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For instance, Whitney Wolfe invented a dating app, where women initiate the conversation, after experiencing online harassment. She created the app, Bumble, to help women. Dating apps can be overwhelming for women due to demeaning comments and harassment. Bumble got women excited because they could make the first move. Now, the app has 40 million users.

They Honor Authenticity

Millennials love keeping it real and encouraging others to be themselves. Community, family, and creativity in their work are important to them and they’re not willing to compromise these values. This is represented in the socially responsible brands that they choose to buy from and employers that they decide to work with.

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This is also reflected in the political preferences of millennials. While Boomers might have valued experience in a political candidate, millennials are more likely to prefer a prospect who has integrity and authenticity, according to a poll from the Harvard Institute of Politics.

Aren’t Afraid to Digitally Detox

There are many types of well-known detoxes, such as a food detox or a skin detox. But have you ever heard of a digital detox? To digitally detox, a person must escape from technology by giving up their smartphones or computers. As the generation known to be addicted to technology, millennials aren’t scared to disconnect from the digital world.

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According to a study by Digital Awareness UK, 71 percent of millennials have taken a break from social media. In a different study by Intel Security, Gen Y beat Gen X. The results revealed that 49 percent of millennials are more willing to digitally detox during vacation than Gen X.