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Millennials Are On The Rise And A Growing Part Of The Workforce In Idaho and Across The U.S.


Maybe you love them, maybe you hate them – or maybe you are one. Millennials are an ascendant generation; the youthful cohort is expected to eclipse Baby Boomers as the biggest generational group in 2019. Next year, it’s expected millennials in the U.S. will number 73 million. The boomers will recede to just under 72 million that year. As for Gen-X, sorry gang. You’re not going to pass the boomers until 2028, but you’re stereotyped as slackers, so it makes sense, right?

To address the rising millennial tide, the Nampa Chamber of Commerce recently held a panel discussion focusing on ways to engage the generation in the workplace.

The sometimes castigated generation is given a bad rap for legitimately fretting over such “first world problems” as the ripeness of avocados (and loving avocado toast so much they won’t be able to afford a home), but more reports are emerging that so-called snowflakes actually do have it tougher than their Boomer parents.  

The Pew Research Center has taken a stand and established a firm window in which millennials were born. According to Pew, the generation starts with those born in 1981 and ends with people born in 1996. One of the defining characteristics behind those dates, the research center reports, is that millennials remember a time before the ubiquity of the internet and mobile technology.

Credit Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio
Boise State Public Radio
Two of Boise State Public Radio's resident millennials, Katie John and Matt Guilhem, practice their selfie skills and up their meme game.

With the oldest millennials turning 37 this year, the chamber of commerce event at Northwest Nazarene University was meant to address this swath of people now fully enmeshed in the workforce.

According to the Idaho Press Tribune, Will Fowler – one of the panelists and a leader at the Idaho Small Businesses Initiative – says businesses often live or die based on how they appeal to the emerging workforce. Fowler says millennials don’t consider themselves adults until their early 30s.

That late development is something Fowler says companies need to be aware of. One bit of advice he offered to employers was that millennials should be offered more hand-holding than members of previous generations. Help and insight is welcome when starting a new job – and firm reminders of deadlines or responsibilities are sometimes needed.

Another panelist was Clay Long. He’s the assistant director of the Idaho Center for Advanced Technology. Long told the audience at Northwest Nazarene University that millennials are a highly motivated bunch and the challenge is grabbing their attention. Long says when a member of the generation knows what they want, they’ll move mountains to get it.

Rather than office donuts on Friday, employers could probably boost morale among millennials – and keep them engaged – by offering something more aligned with their values, tastes and consumer habits. Avocado toast! The answer is always avocado toast…

For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915

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