Do Millennials Make The Worst Employees?

Liars. Disloyal. Prima donnas.

It’s not star athletes, folks. It’s your very own Millennial generation. So says a set of studies done in recent months surrounding the latest group of employee to hit the workplace.

I’ve debated on writing on this topic for a while, but when the latest came out about a study describing honesty as it pertains to generational boundaries, I had to jump in. I’m usually the very last person to ever talk about specific generational issues, because I really don’t believe most of the hype. However, when you’re asking a group of people to report on themselves, the results are a little more useful than the opinionated blathering of a self-proclaimed expert.

The Gap

In my opinion, the major dividing line between the generational factions up to this point hinges on what I like to call “the gap.” Here’s what I mean:

Are Millennials Team Players?

  • 60% of Millennials thought they would work well with a team
  • But 22% of HR professionals believed Millennials would make good team players

Do Millennials Have Strong Interpersonal Communication Skills?

  • 65% of Millennials responded that they relate well to others
  • 14% of HR Professionals thought that Millennials were strong communicators

Are Millennials Hard Workers?

  • 86% of Millennials identified themselves as hard workers
  • 11% of HR professionals thought Millennials would work hard

Are Millennials Able to Lead?

  • 40% of Millennials identified themselves as leaders
  • Only 9% of HR professionals believed that age group had the ability to lead

Are Millennials Loyal to Employers?

  • 82% of Millennials self-identified as being loyal to an employer
  • A mere 1% of HR professionals believed Millennials to be loyal to an employer

That’s the gap, courtesy of this study.

Now for the killer

Okay, if you only had the last set of data to go on, you can plainly see there’s a disconnect there. Now what if that was compounded by a study where Millenials admitted that they would lie to get out of a tough spot. In my profession, there are “tough” spots on a daily basis. I always assume someone is telling the truth unless they give me reason not to, but even then this type of information is stunning. To be honest, every group surveyed thought it was okay to lie to some extent, but not to the tune of 80% of the population.

A whopping 80 percent of Millennials find it acceptable to lie to avoid embarrassment, compared to 57 percent of Baby Boomers, who believe it's OK to lie their way out of an awkward scene.

What are your thoughts? Is this limited to a specific generation, or is it more widespread? Is your organization concerned about these types of studies? Why or why not?

6 thoughts on “Do Millennials Make The Worst Employees?

  1. Josh

    Let me get this straight. The baby boomers are considered more honest because “only” 57% lie? A better blog post would be about how the vast majority of employees of any age are willing to lie.

    1. Ben Post author

      The focus wasn’t there, but on the lack of ability for GY to actually perform in a work setting. The honesty study coupled with the other on the mismatch between expectations in the workplace is a compound effect that is going to keep being an issue until someone addresses it head on.

  2. Cari

    I’m pretty tired of all this Millennial-bashing. I think what this study really shows is that Millennials think of themselves as decent people and good employees (which they are), while HR managers are seriously and unfairly biased against them. Millennials are in a terrible position: they’re graduating with huge debt and few job prospects, burdened by a terrible economy (that was the fault of the Boomers, by the way), and for some reason companies believe that they’re all lazy cheats. Posts like this one (and especially titles like that) do nothing but fan the flames.

  3. Marcus


    Both of the so-called studies mentioned are so deeply flawed as to beggar belief they were given any air-time at all. Suffice to say I do not think they provide anything of value and should be ignored.


  4. Jen

    I am not sure that any study simply comparing what an entire group of people think of themselves vs. what a group of HR people think of that group is “perfect” but it does add some aspect of the issues that employers may have with Millenials. As far as “millenial bashing” why are there any discussions on the topic at all unless there is some general notice of an issue? I have to wonder what generational group Carl lands in; why point a finger at anyone? The boomers grew up in an incredibly prosperous time and attempted to give their children even more, often in ways that didn’t benefit them. One was the “get a medal just for showing up.” That attitude has led many millenials to expectations of promotions and raises in the work place just for showing up, with an argument that “I worked really hard.” The same thing is going on in higher education today as well; students are assuming they know as much as the instructors in many cases, or telling an instructor she/he is wrong because a different one does it differently. Somehow, some of these people have equated effort with success. Lastly, how can it surprise ANYONE that a group of people who mostly use text communication or postings on Facebook THINK they are good communicators? Of course they are, if they can say it in 140 characters, or better yet, pictures.

  5. Alex

    I think that a lot of HR managers are really selling Millenials short. Of course there are some Prima Donnas out there, but it’s not like our parent’s generation didn’t get shafted by the generation above them when they were just starting out in the workplace 30 years ago. In 30 years Millenials will be the one shafting the next generation! It’s a repetitive cycle

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