15 Influential Events that Shaped Generation Y [Infographic]

Diverse Young Managers

They are called by many names: Generation Y (Gen Y), Millennials, Nintendo Generation, Internet Generation, Generation 2001, etc.  Born around 1980 through 2000, they will become the dominant demographic percentage of the workplace as Baby Boomers retire.  Where TV had a heavy impact on Baby Boomers, with Gen Y it was the Internet that made them. Where many Gen X’ers lived the latch key experience as their parents focused on establishing their careers, many Gen Y have been doted upon as their parents have focused more on work/life balance and protecting their kids.

Millennials are natural networkers who effortlessly navigate the digital world with their Smartphones and other electronic devices. They readily share information (sometimes too much) and information travels quickly through their communication networks. If you are a Baby Boomer and in tune to your family communications, you may notice that your young grand children, nephews, and nieces often have “the scoop” on the family happenings before the older relatives do. As a whole, Gen Y are the most accepting of diversity. They are sociable and confident.

Like other American generations, societal events shaped their generational personality. Here’s a list of 15 influential events that shaped Generation Y as they were growing up:

  1. Computers and technology
  2. Girl’s movement
  3. TV talk shows
  4. Oklahoma City bombing
  5. Increased parental emphasis on child rearing
  6. School yard violence (Columbine, etc.)
  7. Diversity
  8. Busy planned lives
  9. Extended family relationships
  10. Early exposure to serious adult issues
  11. Environmental impact awareness
  12. Rise of social media (MySpace, Friendster, Facebook)
  13. Google founding as a search engine
  14. Video games
  15. Desert Storm

The following is an infographic from Compliance and Safety Training that they recently sent me about Generation Y. The infographic provides some interesting statistics that show why Generation Y is having such an impact in the workplace:


One common concern I hear from older managers in my training and consulting work is the difficulties they encounter managing their Gen Y workers. The reality is that older managers will have to loosen the reins of control some if they want their companies to remain viable. The growing workforce participation numbers alone for Gen Y show why managers who ignore the expectations of this demographic do so at their own risk.


The increasing popularity of workplace initiatives like ROWE (which in the recent past would have been roundly rejected by most businesses as not feasible or foolish) show the growing influence of Generation Y and Generation X.  Both of these younger generational groups have a different perspective on the workplace. Baby Boomers and Veterans will have to adapt as their own numbers and power in organizations shift to Generations Y and X. It will take some effort for the four generations to collaborative effectively in the workplace but it can be done.



  •  Image of managers-courtesy of stockimages/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • C & S Training Infographic used for information purposes only. No benefit received.
  • Article Reference: Zemke, R., Raines, C., & Filipczak, B. (2000). Generations at Work. New York: AMACOM.
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