Just 11 years from now, by the year 2025, millennials are expected to make up as much as 75 percent of the American workforce. As members of this generation starts to dominate cubicles and corner offices, they'll drastically shift the way the businesses woo consumers, treat employees, and market themselves to the outside world.
Yet, corporations are not yet prepared to deal with the onslaught of their demands, according to a new study from the Brookings Institution, nor are they moving fast enough to retain and attract millennial workers and customers. "All is we're saying is: 'Hey, look out,' " says Morley Winograd, one of the study's authors, who is a senior fellow at the University of Southern California's Annenberg Center on Communication and Leadership Policy.
Already, the millennial generation disrupted the music industry by refusing to pay for CDs or entire albums. They helped to elect the country's first African-American president in 2008, much to the surprise of the Democratic establishment. Now, they're pushing to make over parts of the food industry by preferring to visit fast-food casual restaurants like Chipotle, sweetgreen, and Panera Bread instead of Burger King or McDonald's. This is just the beginning of the changes millennials will spur politically and economically, Winograd says, as they look to support companies and institutions that they believe promote good over profits. "Millennials as workers and consumers want the idea of social causes carried into the marketplace and the workplace. Not too many companies have figured that out," he says.