Millennials — a term to collectively refer to those who were born roughly between 1982-2004 — are perhaps the most-researched generation of this age. A lot of effort has been spent trying to understand this generation, from the values they possess, the characteristics and behaviours they have, and the motivations behind their decisions and actions.

A great deal of misunderstanding has been perpetuated about this generation, primarily due to how drastically different they are from Baby Boomers and Generation X. Compared to the generations that have faced hard labour, are more patient about results, and gravitate towards stability, millennials tend to expect more of themselves and everyone else, put themselves in higher regard, aim for higher achievements that may not necessarily be up to par with their current development, and tend to expect these in shorter times.

But this narcissistic, impatient, arrogant image may not be a disadvantage for millennials — at least, founder and Chief Executive of Collegefeed Sanjeev Agrawal believes so. According to him, these characteristics make millennials the best workers, as they have the drive to do more and be more than their predecessors, thus advancing progress.

What does this mean for business owners?

Simple: it’s high time that the gap between the workforce and the millennials that will dominate it soon is bridged. To make the most out of this generation and the many benefits they carry within their raw potential, here is everything that you need to know about millennials and how you can connect with them in your business.

Dominant groups

Analysis of the service age groups of the City of Sydney in 2016 compared to Greater Sydney shows that there was a lower proportion of people in the younger age groups (0 to 17 years) as well as a smaller percentage of people in the older age groups (60+ years).

Overall, 7.7% of the population aged between 0 and 17, and 11.7% were aged 60 years and over, compared with 22.2% and 19.0% respectively for Greater Sydney.

The major differences between the age structure of the City of Sydney and Greater Sydney were:

  • A larger percentage of ‘Young workforce (25 to 34)’ (33.0% compared to 16.1%)
  • A larger percentage of ‘Tertiary education and independence (18 to 24)’ (16.7% compared to 9.6%)
  • A smaller percentage of ‘Primary schoolers (5 to 11)’ (2.5% compared to 8.8%)
  • A smaller percentage of ‘Secondary schoolers (12 to 17)’ (1.9% compared to 6.9%)

Emerging groups

From 2011 to 2016, City of Sydney’s population increased by 38,883 people (22.9%). This represents an average annual population change of 4.22% per year over the period.

The largest changes in the age structure in this area between 2011 and 2016 were in the age groups:

  • Young workforce (25 to 34) (+13,606 people)
  • Tertiary education and independence (18 to 24) (+9,744 people)
  • Parents and homebuilders (35 to 49) (+6,112 people)
  • Older workers and pre-retirees (50 to 59) (+2,684 people)

Whether you call them millennials or young professionals, the younger members of today’s workforce in Sydney want different things from their careers than their parents or grandparents did. For many, work isn’t just about clocking in, clocking out and taking home a paycheck anymore. Sure, they need to make money, but they want jobs they enjoy at companies that invest in helping them learn, grow and give back.

Since bridging the gap in the workforce all comes down to understanding each other, here are three important things we’ve learned about millennials. And remember: sometimes working with a new group of people means changing your mindset and re-evaluating your policies.


Millennials don’t want to have to clock in and clock out. It’s not about accountability or time tracking —it’s about flexibility. Many of today’s young professionals don’t stop working when they leave the office – they check emails 24/7, work on projects in the evening when inspired, take calls on the weekends, and they want to know their time is appreciated.

Let’s face it: we don’t all do our best work between 8am and 5pm, so having some flexibility is essential. If your millennial employee is doing great work and not being unreasonable about hours or time, allowing them that flexibility will encourage them to do their best work and keep them happy.


A great workplace isn’t just location, parking and pay. It’s about having a great group of people to work with every day at a company that appreciates you and that shares your values. Thanks in part to social media, Millennials have a heightened sensitivity to social impact and political alignment. They want to work for (and do business with) companies that share their values, give back to the causes they care about and empower them to make a difference. They also want a business that shows they value their employees with benefits like family leave, donation matching and volunteer days.


Ambitious employees of any generation are going to be hungry to learn, but millennials want to work for companies that give them opportunities to grow, cross-train, be mentored and, eventually, be promoted. However, they also don’t want to be singled out as millennials for specialised training or events. They want to be included, trusted with important tasks and given an opportunity to shine. If you want your young professionals to be happy and productive, they need to be challenged.

Millennials are some of the most creative, innovative and resourceful employees that companies can have, but you need to understand what they’re looking for in an employer if you want to keep them around to make your business bigger and better in the future.

If you are having trouble bridging the gap with your younger employees and keeping fresh talent at your company, it might be time to talk to a business coach. Our programs – including a new Bridging the Gap program – can help you and your millennial workforce find a happy medium that allows everyone to succeed.

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Garret Norris

Garret is the founder and CEO of Business Coaches Sydney and through his company, remains dedicated as ever to use his training and real life business experience to meet his passion to see business succeed through disciplined management, creative marketing and committed client service.