This past week, members of the three+one team attended the New York GFOA annual conference. The keynote speaker was award-winning author and filmmaker, Josh Tickell, who spoke on the topic “Passing the Torch, Working with the Millennial Generation.” His message echoed with me as I was reminded of my time with my millennial coworkers and as a father of four daughters born to this generation (born from 1980 to 2000).

Millennials Are What?

Millennials have significant technological skills, work well with numbers, and are passionate about achieving their goals. They make up over 25% of the nation’s population and their influence is clearly on the rise. As they continue to integrate into the workforce, their economic, social, political, and religious impact will be significant.

Higher Ed has already felt the impact of the millennial generation. The youngest of that generation (those born in 2000) will be heading off to colleges and universities in the next two years. But the millennial generation has been the almost exclusive student base of higher Ed institutions for the last 15 to 20 years. Colleges and universities across the country have felt millennials’ impact and now is the time for the public sector to feel it.

People younger than 30 only made about 7% of the federal workforce in 2013 compared to 25% in the private sector. This disparity between the government and its people will naturally resolve itself as older public officials leave the workforce and their positions are filled by the technologically adept and more open-minded younger generations. But until they do, it’s your job as a government official to proactively meet the needs of this critical and growing number of your constituents.

Millennials were raised during a time of great technological advances with an underlying philosophy of efficiency and optimization. That’s been ingrained into everything they do and what they expect.

Millennials are quick to adopt and evolve; for example, they hear about online and mobile payment services and then immediately see the inefficiency of cash and checks. So when they use cash and checks in their encounters with public entities, it adds to their belief that government services are antiquated and inefficient.

Millennials make up a generation that is accustomed to easy access, transparency, and a wealth of information at their fingertips. Staying open to new ideas and actively communicating with the public are all things millennials expect.

While grasping with the influence and impact of millennials may seem scary and overwhelming to us baby boomers, the future of where we are going has never looked more optimistic. How do I know? I look at my four daughters and the talent we have at three+one. We have a lot to learn from them, as they do from us.

Yes, millennials are on the rise and they will be the force of the future—all 80 million of them.


See Us At These Upcoming Events and Conferences:
GFOA South Carolina – May 1
National GFOA in Denver – May 21
New York State Association of Counties Finance School- May 2-4