The 3 key challenges facing the mature millennial

If there is one aspect of the millennial mindset that should give policymakers cause for concern it’s their prevailing attitude to retirement. While the majority (54%) of those in Western Europe polled by PwC expect to be better off than their parents, only 5% indicate a willingness to work beyond retirement age. Very few, however, have given much thought to preparing for retirement, seeming to lend some credence to the pre-eminent pigeonholing of millennials as a generation who live very much in the present.

The entry of those born from 1980 – 2000 into the workforce has been met with considerable consternation. Initial resistance to the demands and expectations of younger workers has largely faded as it became clear that their expectations in fact signified a cultural shift that needed, to a large extent, to be embraced.

But far on from living in the present, 2030 will mark the first millennials turning 50.  It’s logical to assume that in the coming years more of the millennial generation will make significant leaps into senior management which lends the question – what does the mature millennial look like?

There are three (and perhaps more) key challenges that must be answered.

Getting Ahead

The first is how to deal with the paradoxes now becoming prevalent in workplace culture. Whereas only 18% of millennials say they intend to commit to their employer long term, they expect promotion as a given. 95% view work-life balance as ‘important’. 88% say it’s important that their employer’s ‘values’ match their own.  Progression without commitment, diversity without talent and the increasing importance of emotional intelligence as a key differentiator in a world dominated by non-verbal communication must all be dealt with.  Will the preference for flat structures stand the test of time?


The increasing automation of technical jobs is the second. This presents a particular challenge when the perceived strength of the millennial workforce is its technological advantage over older generations. With each intake, from those earlier millennials who came from the first generation to have home computers, to the digital natives that will become workers in the next five years the risk of economic redundancy increases. Seen through the prism of decreasing responsibility and increasing immaturity this risk is magnified.


Data represents the third challenge. We are already on the cusp of what’s being called the fourth industrial revolution. More data is set to be created in 2017 than in the whole of human history combined. the total amount of digital data in circulation was estimated to be 4.4 zettabytes in 2013, with that due to grow to  44 zettabytes by 2020. By 2030 mankind will be possess so much data that it will – wrongly – believe itself capable of second guessing most aspects of human life.  Regulation will add an extra layer of complexity to this data revolution but that is far from the only challenge it presents. Digital advancement tends to increase productivity but the possibility exists that this will lead to dramatic changes in working life. The 15-hour working week predicted by Keynes in 1930 might be a possibility, but how does that come about?

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Published by Neil Wilson

Communications & Marketing Professional, sometimes on the airwaves.

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