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Millennials Rise Up To Management In 2015

headshot6_schawbel_largeToday's guest post is from our newest board member, Dan Schawbel.  Dan is the Founder of, a research and insights membership service for forward-thinking HR professionals, and the New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0.  Below, Dan explores a trend on the minds of lots of HR pros, what happens in the workplace as the Millennials rise into the management ranks?

One of the biggest trends I've been following is the rise of Millennials into management roles. It's going to happen at an unprecedented rate in 2015. Are Millennials (and the workplace) ready?

I'm a Millennial myself, have released twenty primary research studies around this topic and reviewed thousands of reports. A few years ago, we found that Millennials accounted for approximately 13% of management positions in America. Last year, we worked with Elance-oDesk to see the growth of Millennials into management roles since. We found that 27% of Millennials are now managers and, in the next ten years, nearly half (47%) want to be either managers or senior managers.

Two separate studies show that we might have underestimated the surge of Millennial managers in the workplace. First, EY found that 59% of their managers are already Millennials and 18% are senior managers. 90% of all Millennials who are managers took their role in the past five years.  Second, a CareerBuilder study found that 38% of the workforce is already managed by Millennials.

Regardless of source, Millennials are being rushed into management roles because more boomers are leaving the workforce due to retirement or an encore career. Since they haven't been in the workforce for very long, many are unprepared for these new managerial roles. Just because you know how to do your job, doesn't mean that you have the ability to manage other people. Millennials' lack of preparation is due not only to the aging workforce but the entitlement that some have showcased  when it comes to promotions.

Another aspect of this trend that often gets overlooked is that younger workers have fear and anxiety when managing older workers. In many situations, you will find a Millennial managing a Gen X or baby boomer employee. Since these generations have a challenging time relating to each other, it's become a real struggle in the workplace. We have found that despite all generations preferring face time, there is still a major technology gap and learning curve between generations. While Millennials are using Snapchat, Instagram, texting and instant messaging, older generations want to speak on the phone or in person.  In order to shrink the technology gap, and bring all generations together in a way that enables Millennials to be better managers, a formal mentoring and training program is required.

It goes without saying that all generations can learn from each other. When in management, Millennials should seek to learn from older managers. One way to force this interaction is to create a mentoring program at your company. This way, Millennial managers can meet with Gen X and boomer managers on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to learn about leadership techniques and acquire new management skills. Every new Millennial manager should go through this program so they are better prepared for their position and because these mentors become a lifeline just in case there are employee issues and complaints down the road.

I personally think it's a very exciting time to be in the workforce as a Millennial manager because you can innovate, learn and fuel the next generation of corporate growth.

To what extent are the management ranks filling with Millennials in your organization?  What is the impact of this migration?



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