It is turning out that millennials are not that much different than generations who have gone before. As they are getting older they are making many of the same choices as their parents and grandparents – only they are doing those things a little later in life, perhaps because they were burdened earlier in life with financial issues such as massive college loans and a constrained job market.
But, according to a report in “Chief Executive,” millennials are now marrying, having children, buying homes and choosing to live in the suburbs, at rates that reflect those of past generations.
The article also recommended that employers take a close look at the generation who came before. Generation X’ers, to an impressive degree, are holding positions of authority and responsibility as managers and administrators. And, in fact, Generation X’ers have a higher rate of entrepreneurship – about double that of millennials. The rate of entrepreneurship among millennials is on a decline.
But to attract the talents and labor of the youth, with the current robust economic growth spawning a very tight labor market, Chief Executive is suggesting that companies think carefully about their strategies. While employers are raising wages to attract young people, if they are thinking about expanding or relocating to areas that the young want to live, they might shift their attention to smaller family-friendly cities. “The much-hyped ‘return to the city’is a minor phenomenon.”
The website FiveThirtyEight points out that as people age they have always tended to migrate to the suburbs, and although millennials first migrated to urban cores more so than previous generations, the generation has “peaked” and are forming “a new suburban wave.”
Population is growing at only one-third to one-half less in the “big cities” as compared to that in “Sunbelt boomtowns,” and the growth seems to correlate with the population who were in their 20s in 2007-2011. Rather than San Francisco, Denver, New York and Chicago, people now in their early 30s are moving to low-cost San Antonio, Charlotte, Nashville and Houston – just like the babyboomers. Stats show that the pattern accelerates among older age groups. And, the younger generation, GenZ, is expected to follow suit, because they face the same kinds of pressures as older generations, and perhaps more so given the rising cost of housing.
Some of the attraction of high-educated millenials to what they call “Legacy” urban cores, came from the fact that over the past two decades efforts were made by those cities to clean up and revitalize their cores – “a sharp reversal from the late ’70s and ’80s when crime chased workers and companies out.” This trend is changing.
“…growth in urban cores… has slowed overall and in every group age 25 and over. Among millennials 20 to 29, the urban core of major metropolitan areas (over 1 million) grew by only 282,000 in the period 2012 to 2016 from the period 2007 to 2011.”
For many companies the talent search has to do with more than just high-tech skills. “The labor shortage impacts not only highly -coveted tech talent but also those in fields like supply chain management and manufacturing. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT is expected to grow by barely 0.2 percent in the next decade, well below health, energy, construction, urbhospitality and professional and business service sectors,” states the report.
“Workers in these fields may not be as willing or able to live in the cramped conditions,” said the article, noting that the millennials seem to be persuaded just as much by economic factors as have past generations.
“Prohibitive home prices in core cities are driving would-be home buyers out. According to a TD Bank survey, over 80 percent of 18- to 34-year-old renters want to own a home. A Fannie Mae survey of people under 40 found that the vast majority thought owning made more financial sense, offering potential for asset appreciation and a hedge against rent increases.”
As millennials age, the trend is likely to continue, as they enter the child-rearing age. Generational researchers Winograd and Mike Hais, are referred to in the article, for having long pointed out, “millennial attitudes about family remain surprisingly conventional... The vast majority want to get married, start a family and be ‘good parents.’”
Today, 16 million millennials have children, up from barely six million a decade ago—and that number is likely to soar in coming years.
And, just like their parents, they “tend to opt for the suburbs for reasons of affordability, safety and education quality. Among those under 35 who do buy homes, four-fifths choose the single-family detached houses most often found in suburban locales.”
The article also advises employers not to dismiss the older age categories as “potential talent pools.”
They “are well-educated, particularly in skilled trades, and now remain on the job longer than at any time since the 1950s. They are also, along with immigrants, increasing their entrepreneurial presence.”