Millennial Mudslinging – PsychTests’ Study Reveals Why Gen Y Employees Need To Be Given A Chance

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Research by indicates that while Millennials value status and recognition, they are more than willing to work for it.

Research by indicates that while Millennials value status and recognition, they are more than willing to work for it.

Boomers, Gen Xers and Millenials share some top motivators but there are many differences as well.

Millennials are here to stay, and like it or not, every company will need to hire workers from that cohort.

Generation Y has been called many names: “Millennials”, “The Me Me Me Generation”, “Peter Pan generation”, “Generation WE”, and “The Boomerang Generation”. Most people who are not Millennials generally have few, if any, complimentary things to say about this cohort. Research from PsychTests, however, reveals that many beliefs about Millennial employees – that they are only motivated by money and rewards, or as a CBS report put it, are “narcissistic praise hounds” – may be untrue.

Using data from their Career Motivation Profile, researchers at PsychTests attempted to uncover how Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers differ in terms of motivators; essentially, what makes them want to work hard.

The three cohorts share several strong motivators - learning, creativity, and altruism. The score differences on these intrinsic motivators are not statistically significant – meaning Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials have almost the same scores, and all above 70. However, there are many motivators where these generations do differ significantly, and often, the differences in average scores are profound:

(Note: Scores range from 0 to 100; the higher the score, the more inspiring and important the motivator).

  •     Achievement: Desire to set and reach major goals, and rise up to challenges at work – making a big sale, leading a team, or designing an innovative product.

o    Average score for Millennials: 80
o    Average score for Gen Yers: 79
o    Average score for Boomers: 73

  •     Contribution: Desire to contribute something major to a field: inventing something new, making an important discovery, or advancing technology. Typically, individuals who are motivated by Contribution value education, training and experience; they are quite dedicated to their work.

o    Score for Millennials: 69
o    Score for Gen Yers: 63
o    Score for Boomers: 53

  •     Mobility: Desire to see and experience new places. Individuals with this motivator are curious, open-minded, have a thirst for adventure, and are highly-adaptable.

o    Score for Millennials: 69
o    Score for Gen Yers: 64
o    Score for Boomers: 48

  •     Recognition and Appreciation: Desire to feel valued for one’s hard work. This doesn’t necessarily mean public recognition but involves acknowledgement at a root-level of the organization – people with this motivator want encouragement from their boss. They are driven by the positive feelings they get from the knowledge that they are making a valuable, recognized contribution to the company.

o    Score for Millennials: 72
o    Score for Gen Yers: 69
o    Score for Boomers: 65

  •     Socializing: Desire to work with others; to be a part of a team, group, or community. People with this motivator like sharing their thoughts and are generally strong communicators; they often choose a specific career based on its “human” element.

o    Score for Millennials: 69
o    Score for Gen Yers: 64
o    Score for Boomers: 62

  •     Status: Desire to achieve a high social standing at work in order to impress others. It’s important to point out that individuals with these motivators take pride in their achievements and will work hard to stay on top. They are strong competitors who always “keep their eyes on the prize.”

o    Score for Millennials: 64
o    Score for Gen Yers: 54
o    Score for Boomers: 43

  •     Fun and Enjoyment: For those with this motivator, what they are doing in life is not as important as whether they enjoy doing it. This doesn’t mean that they are not going to work hard; rather, it indicates that they want to work in a position where fun and hard work can coexist happily. They want a position that is well-suited to their interests. This may be the reason why many college-bound teenagers keep changing their mind about their selected major.

o    Score for Millennials: 75
o    Score for Gen Yers: 75
o    Score for Boomers: 68

“Each generation has certain stereotypes, a convenient fact that many people forget. For example, a 2009 paper by Crampton & Hodge in the Journal of Business Economics Research reveals that Baby Boomers were thought to be respectful of authority, but also had the tendency to challenge the system, creating the anti-establishment attitude of that generation. They were also viewed by theorists as micro-managers, and mercilessly determined to achieve material success, whatever the cost. Does this mean that every Baby Boomer should be painted with the same brush – as a ruthless, rebellious, and money-hungry achiever? Absolutely not. So we need to allow Millennials the chance to prove themselves in the workplace, and not allow stereotypes to color our judgment,” points out Deborah Muoio, lead researcher at PsychTests.

“There is a kernel of truth in the stereotypes that the older generations hold about the Generation Y,” explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of the company. “There is the need for instant gratification and recognition. Work-life balance and flexibility are important to them, which may present a problem in some companies. There is the impatience, short attention span, and the sense of entitlement. However, a big part of that is a lack of understanding of how the new generation functions. Millennials also have a lot going for them – they are tech savvy, well connected, and are trained - to a fault sometimes - to juggle many things at once. They are achievement oriented – they want to succeed, to make a difference, to stand out. In fact, due to constant comparisons with their peers on social media sites, they are very driven and put a lot of pressure on themselves. They adapt quickly, are skilled at research, and tend to be excellent team players due to a major shift to group work in the education system.”

“The bottom line is, Millennials are here to stay, and like it or not, every company will need to hire workers from that cohort,” concludes Dr. Jerabek. "Sure, you will find some difficult ones in that generation, but there are many gems among them as well. Like with anybody else, you need to understand Millennials to help them perform at their best. And you can make it work, if you look at each of them as an individual and figure out what motivates and de-motivates them.”

Want to find out what motivates you? Go to

Professional users of this assessment (therapists, life coaches and counselors) can request a free demo of this or any other tests from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery:

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook:

About is a subsidiary of PsychTests AIM Inc. is a site that creates an interactive venue for self-exploration with a healthy dose of fun. The site offers a full range of professional-quality, scientifically-validated psychological assessments that empower people to grow and reach their real potential through insightful feedback and detailed, custom-tailored analysis.

PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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Ilona Jerabek
PsychTests AIM Inc.
+1 514-745-3189 Ext: 112
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