Technology and lifestyle changes beginning to influence the cultural landscape are reflections of millennials adapting to change, says an author and consultant on workplace performance improvement.
Ian MacRae says the narcissist behaviour often associated to millennials is not unique to their generation, and often overshadows the impact the current 15 to 30-year-old age group will have in changing lifestyle and work habits in the years to come.
The jokes that centre around millennials feed off characteristics associated to them such as facing a crushing post-secondary student debt, never being single-family home owners, declining interest in owning a car rather and reliance on public transit, significance of job wages measured against job location and stability within their lifestyle choices, or their self-indulgent social media inspired lifestyle habits.
But for MacRae, who now lives in London, England, after leaving the Okanagan to attend London University College, millennials will affect more than the generations before them in advancements of technology on our lives at home and at work.
In his most recent of his three books, Myths of Work, MacRae describes millennials this way: “Generation 2020, who have grown up with these technologies, will start clocking on to these changes and embracing them themselves. At this very minute, these individuals are attending university and will soon enter the workforce, changing the way we work as we know it. They are well digitally connected, culturally liberal, extremely mobile and unwilling to settle for anything less.”
MacCrae says millennials don’t deserve the lazy label, feeling they are no better or worse than the generations that have come before them.
“Every generation has been categorized to some extent like this going back to the time of Plato. It’s not novel or unique to millennials today,” MacRae said in a recent interview with Black Press during a visit back home to Kelowna.
He argues that millennials are reacting to a shifting landscape being fuelled by technology and environment sustainability realities like none have done before them.
MacRae said millennials place an increasing higher value on education to adapt to automation trends in the workforce, where a premium is placed on specific job skills while those in the general labour category will continue to face being marginalized.
The cost of real estate will bring an end to the sprawling urban growth, as millennials will seek to live in affordable cluster or higher density living, closer to amenities with the idea to reduce their reliance on vehicles.
In the workplace, millennials will be less concerned about wages in comparison to job stability, flexible working hours and how their employment fits their transportation and lifestyle habits.
“People are beginning to look for cheaper, easier, more convenient lifestyle options. The European model of living in higher density closer to the services you are looking for is going to be more prevalent,” he said.
“I think the interest in owning a car will still be there. But people are looking for modern mass transit options, ride sharing apps, automated driving, so it will be interesting to watch how that unfolds.”
MacRae says lifestyle attitude changes will come quickly, sometimes faster than our existing political and economic platforms are capable of adjusting to without causing significant disruption in our lives.
“I think millennials look at our politics as being ambiguous and complicated, and that technology can help bring change much faster than can politicians.
“I think they are generally optimistic about the future, but education is critical to them moving forward as is the ability to be critical thinkers and not be ready to accept everything for the way it is.”
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