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Identity & Community
00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770f80000Thirty years ago, the Pittsburgh region was losing more of its population than it was attracting each year, with young adults accounting for most of the exodus.Today the region’s population of 20-to-30-somethings, known as Millennials or Gen Y, is on the rise. Millennials increasingly choose to stay or move to Pittsburgh from other towns. Like each generation before them, they bring a unique blend of attitudes and characteristics that reflect their experiences and they’re reshaping Pittsburgh in some interesting ways.This web series reflects the views of Pittsburgh’s next generation, what they have to say about themselves, their community, and where they live and work.

Collaboration & Contribution: Millennials in the Workplace

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Beginning in kindergarten, members of the Millennial generation were educated in “pods” of four or five children, where learning became a team effort and idea sharing a necessity, according to career consultant and coach, Christy Uffelman.

Notably, this generation has also watched their parents and grandparents lose lifelong careers to economic decline and societal problems related to greed. Uffelman, who counsels Millennials in the workplace through Align Leadership, observes young people and sees the effect these components have in their interactions with older colleagues and peers at work. 

Uffelman says companies looking to attract Millennials should market their work opportunities as relevant and meaningful rather than monetarily lucrative.

“You contrast that unique collaborative learning to the traditional organizations of looking at perks and status and titles when they’re really looking for ‘how can I make a contribution to my team, to my department and to my company?’”

Sasha King, independent career consultant, echoes this sentiment and says Millennials contrast their work ethic to that of older generations.

“Many of them would wish to work to live as opposed to live to work,” she explains.

From 9/11, to the economic recession, to Columbine, and the Boston Marathon Bombings, Uffelman says “we know life is short, so that’s at the heart of why this generation wants to change the world and do what we can.”

Often Millennials will turn down higher-paying jobs for careers that impact their community in a positive way. For this generation, measurement of success has evolved from “rising in the ranks” to increasing civic engagement.

The most successful Millennials, such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and locally, Andrew Butcher of GTECH, created their own business rather than start at the bottom of a large corporation.  After witnessing their success, many Millennials strive to be their own boss or at least work in a field that changes the world for the better.