The other day, I was finalizing my plans for my upcoming trip to Europe, when I started thinking, what are the “Me’s (other millennials, born between 1980-2000)” like in other parts of the world?
Is everyone in this generation called millennials or is that more of an American term? Does “millennial” mean something different depending on where you are from? Do we share the same outlook on family values, way of life, and career progression? These few thoughts really got me thinking, are all millennials connected by the year they were born in, through shared experiences, or is it both? How does the world interpret the term “millennial”?
The millennial word was coined by two American authors, William Strauss and Neil Howe in 1991. Strauss and Howe understood how different this generation was going to be due to the parenting styles, advances in technology and outlook on life and they wanted a way to define this large group. Over the years, the term continued to pick up speed until about 2013, when it became the OFFICAL name in America. Shortly after, many countries began adopting the millennial name.
It is true, millennials all over the world are very similar and are connected by these broad and loosely examined characteristics, but when you dig deeper, you will see that one’s culture will have a huge impact.
One defining aspect of the millennial generation is being known as the most educated generation across the board, but being educated came at a high price- the price of debt. This is a common experience that both American and European millennials went through growing up during the 2008 economic crisis. Both groups were affected greatly by this and although it is a millennial experience, these two millennial groups will have very different interpretations of debt due to their cultural economic situations.
Also, the millennial generation has had to endure negative misconceptions. This is especially true for both American and Chinese millennials, as they must deal with being called the privileged generation. However, the reasoning behind it is very different. American millennials where looked at as being privileged due to the life choices we were making and by not following the typical “adult” path. As for Chinese millennials, they grew up during a time when China had a one-child policy. Due to this cultural experience, they were perceived by the older generations as having an entitled and struggle free life with little debt.
All three cultures have a millennial generation, but as you can see not all shared the same experience. For instance, debt was not a shared experience between the Chinese and Europe millennials. Understanding all millennials are the same but different depending on their culture is important because we make up about 27 percent of the global population, which makes us a leading competitor in the work force, a large portion of the buyers’ market and a huge influence over societal trends.
Overall, it is clear to see that the millennial term brings a group of people born into the same generational period together but inside the millennial bubble, we are not all the same. Millennials are known for being highly educated, highly mobile and great with technology. Stay tuned as we dive deeper into the similarities and differences of the international millennial generation as well as discussing their ideal work style, next on Millennials Around the World!