Connecting to Millennial Careers, Money, and Politics With Man of the Hour
Millennial men are living in a considerably different economic, career, and political climate than their parents did at their age. The notion of being an employee at the same company for the most of one's working life is no longer common. Millennial men are thinking of making money their own way and investing it differently, too. Their views on political and social issues have shifted from those of their elders. These changes are due to a combination of Generation Y's individualism, the dawn of the digital age, and other societal trends. A different approach must be taken when engaging with them in these important areas of life.
When it comes to work, don't bet on young men to collect pensions from the companies they're currently working at. According to a State Streets Global Advisors survey, 61% of millennial men aged 22-32 have changed jobs between one and four times in the last 5 years. Two thirds say they expect to switch employers within the next 4 years. What's causing this reduction in job stability? A recent major recession certainly didn't help, contributing to a less healthy job market and the generation's lower incomes and savings. Similar to marriage and homeowning, millennial men are taking longer to figure out their desired career paths and thus are more likely to bounce around in different fields, sometimes ones that are completely unrelated to what they studied in school.
They may also be shuffling employers by choice. Millennial men place great importance on personal values for choosing jobs and making decisions at those jobs, resulting in more potential instability. Sixty-one percent of millennial men with "higher ranking" job titles claim to have refused to perform a duty at work because it conflicted with their principles. For many, a traditional 9-to-5 job consisting of working for a boss and climbing the corporate ladder no longer constitutes the American dream. One major alternative to "working for the man" is starting a business, especially in the technology sector. Over half of millennial men say they would like to do so. Of course, actions speak louder than mere words; among the self-employed members of Generation Y, 32% are running startups, compared to 9% of baby boomers. It isn't uncommon to walk through the doors of a tech startup and not see anyone older than 40.
Not only do millennial men have greater entrepreneurial ambition than their elders, they're also better equipped to learn about starting companies given the proliferation of online resources in the form of websites, blogs, mobile apps, and social media. Through these sources, they're investing their money with a different mindset. For one thing, they are more willing to take risks; millennial men are putting an average of 18% of their pay in investments, versus 11% for baby boomers. While their parents can expect to receive their Social Security payments just fine, millennial men express much doubt that they will see their own. They want more control over their investments and are more skeptical of traditional financial advisors. Firms are adapting to this desire; advisor fees are trending towards being tied to portfolio growth and away from being commission-based. Bank customers can now check their balances, deposit checks, and pay bills on their computers and phones instead of having to make a trip. Stocks and mutual funds can be bought online at one's leisure instead of during a single phone call or meeting with an employee introduced to on the spot.
In addition to making investments, millennial men are also using online methods to keep track of and learn about them. The internet has certainly eased the financial learning curve. Stock tips can now be shared via social media and apps. Tip'd Off is a particularly popular social media platform, where users share information, advice, and portfolios with each other. Mint organizes people's bank accounts, credit cards, and investments so that they can handle the majority of their major finances under one app. It would be wise for the financial service industry to continue catering to the millennial man's taste for online, user-generated interaction and content.
Millennial men are forging their own political and social identity. Compared to Generation X, baby boomers, and the Silent generation, they are the least religious and trusting of people, more fiscally and socially liberal, and the most likely to consider themselves independents. These trends may be linked to the millennial man's propensity to seek non-traditional aspects of life, and that would include distancing themselves from institutions like religion and the two-party political system. Although its male millennial audience may generally lean certain ways, Man of the Hour will provide them viewpoints from all over the political spectrum to consider, and not specific ones to accept.
There's a strong indirect correlation between age and support of marijuana and same-sex marriage legalization, even within party lines. Among millennial male Republicans, who would generally be expected to take conservative stances, 63% and 58% said they supported legalizing marijuana and same-sex marriage, respectively, in a Pew Research poll. Common ground is being established between some Democrats and Republicans when it comes to mass incarceration, police brutality, and the war on drugs. While progressives commonly argue against all three on grounds of social justice, conservative criticisms tend to cite high economic costs and objectionable expansion of government power. Perhaps all of this is an indication that political viewpoints should be thought of in the context of fiscal and social categories rather than a broad dichotomy.
Democrats have more reason to be optimistic about reaching young voters than Republicans; in 2014, 51% of millennial men identified themselves as Democrats or leaning Democrat, compared to 35% for Republicans. However, half of Generation Y identifies itself as independent, indicating that while they do skew towards Democrats when faced with a decision to vote, a substantial number aren't primarily associating with either major party. This is good news for third parties. Millennial men are an enticing target particularly for Libertarians, who are attempting to grab unhappy young voters who are or lean towards being fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
Similar to culture or style, millennial men need to be reached out to differently than older generations regarding their careers, money, and politics. It's certainly doable, as long as one recognizes the key changes in technology and the generation's psyche.
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