Are millennials really favored in the workplace?

The overwhelming majority of employees (90%) are happy with the diversity of age ranges in their workplace, a new survey finds. That doesn’t necessarily mean all is well with respect to different generations at work: 35% of respondents to the survey (conducted by staffing firm Addison Group) reported feeling that their workplace’s culture and process favor one generation over others, and 45% of them believe millennials are that favored generation.

Millennials are (or soon will be) the largest demographic within the workforce and, as such, often appear to be the No. 1 target of the older generations’ ire. They’re blamed (fairly or not) for everything from the death of the enclosed shopping mall to the decline of network TV. They’re even accused of not having enough sex.

The fact is, however, that despite any perceived favoritism on their behalf, many millennials struggle at work. A study earlier this year by Mental Health America found that more than 60 percent of millennials (ages 18 to 34) surveyed report that stress from work/life imbalance or unrealistic work demands causes them to be mentally unproductive at work.

The same study also found more than half of those ages 18 to 34 describe themselves as severely or moderately mentally fatigued by the current stressors in their lives.

Louis Gagnon, CEO of Total Brain (a company that offers a mental health and fitness app and which partnered with Mental Health America on the survey) said the research shows that most millennials are being impacted by stress from work/life imbalance and increasing workplace demands.

With all that, the Addison Group survey also had some positive findings: Of all the generations, 95% of employees reported getting along best with millennials, followed by Gen X (94%), baby boomers (83%) and Gen Z (a mere 7%). Overall, employees reported liking the tech savviness of Gen Z (56%) and millennials (52%), Gen X’s work ethic (64%) and baby boomers’ leadership (48%).

The findings underline the fact that in an era of four different generations in the workplace together, it’s vital to understand the strengths and weaknesses each generation brings, says Addison Group CEO Tom Moran.

“Combined, these attributions make for a well-rounded and collaborative workplace environment,” he says.

Andrew R. McIlvaine
Andrew R. McIlvaine is former senior editor with Human Resource Executive®.