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I am part of the largest age group in American history. The Y Generation, the Millennials, or what Joel Stein calls the “Me Me Me Generation” in his latest Time magazine article.

On a steamy July morning, I locked my apartment (that I share with two roommates), and swiped my $113 monthly metrocard (that I personally pay for) to then spend my 45-minute subway ride to my ten-hour work day reading Stein’s article about how my generation is full of narcissistic, lazy, egomaniacs that still depend on their parents for almost everything.

I was livid. I immediately jumped to defend myself thinking, “I moved out of my parent’s house on my 22nd birthday with the money I had saved from working three jobs!” The only thing I had in common with these generalizations was the year I was born.

But I continued reading and realized Stein had solid data. Below are a few of his conclusions, along with my difference of opinion…

Gen Y believes they’re entitled.

Forty percent of millennials believe they should receive a promotion every two years – regardless of performance. According to Stein’s research, this sense of entitlement is attributed to the plethora of participation awards we received throughout our childhood. My mother still shows people a poem I wrote about a rock in the 4th grade. Stein may call this coddling my ego. I call this having proud parents. They’ve always taught me the benefit of a strong work ethic. It’s not about entitlement, it’s about making the most of myself – and my hard work and dedication paid off when I received a raise and a promotion within my first year of working.

Millennials have warped priorities.

Stein’s article stated that three times as many middle school girls would rather grow up to be the personal assistant of someone famous than the CEO of a company. Yes, I did TiVo the finale of Keeping up with the Kardashians. But, I would much rather be on the board of E! Entertainment than be Kim’s assistant.

Gen Y lack interpersonal skills.

According to Stein’s research, millennials send and receive an average of 88 texts per day. Have you ever heard of “FOMO”? Gen Y has such a “fear of missing out” that they created an acronym for it. While I may text my friend from 10 feet away and have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram apps on every one of my devices, I know how to get information fast. I understand the role that Social Media and mobile are playing in the future of business, and I will be part of it.

Entitlement, distorted priorities, lacking interpersonal skills – even though Stein may have the data to substantiate these labels, I am one millennial they do not apply to. However, as I finished the article, even Stein turned most of his research on its head and admitted that millennials are a powerful group. In fact, the things that “categorize” us are also our biggest strengths.

Data is in the eye of the beholder.

Our sense of self-entitlement enables us to negotiate better contracts and gives us the confidence to ask for what we think we deserve. Some may see this as arrogant. But Sheryl Sandberg may see this as “leaning in.” I see this as being ambitious and persistent. As an employer, wouldn’t you want this mentality in an employee?

We were bred to think ahead of the current trend – to challenge convention. In a sense, we’re the most adaptable generation that has yet to exist. So if millennials are lazy apathetic narcissists, then the next generation will rule the world.

Which perspective do you take on millennials?

By Jacqueline Monti

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Every employer faces the challenge of filling hiring requirements, and while the ‘easy’ approach is to hire people who already have a proven ability to do the job, there are a number of reasons why recruiting and training those who don’t is worthwhile — including cost, skills shortages and greater promotion prospects for those people you already employ.

This was the preface to a case I put forward on ‘graduates versus apprentices’ at a recent event attended by graduate recruiters.

Employers seem to think there is a big difference between hiring graduates and hiring apprentices, but having looked at the evidence, I don’t think there needs to be.

The hiring and training costs associated are similar, and although it might be easier to market to graduates, their salary expectations are likely to be higher, with more competition for graduates, so this balances out.

What most employers cite as a reason to hire graduates is their ‘long-term potential’ but realistically, how many graduates stay in a company long enough to fulfil this potential?

An interesting test for employers would be to consider whether the word ‘graduate’ could be dropped from a job description altogether; if an English graduate and a Maths graduate could be considered for the same role, then is a degree needed at all? I’m not suggesting that hiring graduates is a bad thing, but it is a finite and overfished pool, and many ‘graduate’ jobs simply do not need the skills learnt on degree courses anymore.

The imperative is even stronger when we consider ‘skills shortage’ professions such as engineering. It’s been hard to recruit in this area for decades, but it’s going to get worse. The age profile of chartered engineers shows a large proportion approaching retirement, but there have been no significant increases at the graduate end. This shortage will inevitably lead to pay rises, unfilled jobs and manpower headaches unless companies start planning for it now.

With this in mind, I believe now is the right time to rethink the way that young people are hired. It might be beneficial to look at their recruitment in terms of ‘skilled hires’ for example, graduates with specific skills or lateral hires, and then ‘unskilled hires’, whatever their age or educational level.

With university fees rising, there is likely to be an increased interest in alternatives to university such as apprenticeships. However, many young people will push themselves into higher education simply because it is what they think should do to appeal to recruiters, and so the cycle continues.

Clearly there are a number of questions for employers to think through and the answers are likely to be different dependent on the sector and company, but it must be time for recruiters to broaden their horizons.

Maybe the most attractive employers of the future will be those who offer a viable, exciting alternative to university which can take them all the way to the boardroom, rather than those who insist on the university experience itself.

This article was written by Marcus Body, our Head of Research, and was published in Recruiter Magazine.