Don't Believe the Stereotypes

Don’t Believe the Stereotypes

Look to the Next Generation When Recruiting

Millennials are taking over the United States, and if you have seen the stereotypes that exist about our generation, this might make you a bit uneasy – but try to not judge us by our generational labels. The Millennials follow Generation X, born between 1982 and 2004, and there’s 75.4 million of us living in the U.S. making it the largest generation in our country, so you better learn to love us, if you don’t already! Let’s discuss these stereotypes, how they might be untrue but also how you could potentially use them to your advantage.

  1. Millennials are lazy. This is by far the most troubling for myself to understand and we millennials have a hard time grasping…. Can’t the same be said for all generations? According to a study by Bentley University: To achieve career success, most millennials are willing or somewhat willing to work long hours and weekends (53 percent), or to take a lower-paying or unpaid job or internship for experience/connection (53 percent). Additionally a survey by Alamo found that 34 percent of millennials reported that they worked every day of their vacations! There are hard working millennials out there. I am one of them, I work with them… and I encourage you to find them.
  2. Millennials want to change the world. As an industry that centers itself on saving lives, you should embrace this about our generation. If you’re struggling to reach us, you may want to consider highlighting that fire sprinklers save lives in your job descriptions. Eighty-four percent (84 percent) say that, “Knowing I am helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important to me than professional recognition.” According to the “Millennial Impact Report” 55 percent of millennials are influenced to accept a job if a company is involved with a cause. Fire sprinklers save lives; what greater cause is there?
  3. Millennials are addicted to technology. Technology is an important part of our lives, most definitely… but that doesn’t mean that all we do is take selfies and tweet all day. We use it to be more efficient too, and you might learn something from us. The other day I taught my mom how to deposit a check from her smartphone. It was pure fascination and saved her a trip to the bank and a solid 30 minutes of her day. Additionally, at our last NextGen Initiative meeting we had a video conference meeting to connect with our peers who couldn’t make the trip to Puerto Rico. Engage the millennials in your company because you might learn how to work smarter and connect differently.

As a member of AFSA’s NextGen Initiative, we are working hard to help bridge the gap between the generations in the fire sprinkler industry and recruit young talent. It is important that we work hard to understand each other and recruit millennials into our work force. Do you belong to a generation that has its own stereotypes? I invite you to discuss them with the NextGen so we can address it in the next issue. To learn more about the NextGen Initiative, please visit us at!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amanda Rehker is market segment manager for BlazeMaster Fire Sprinkler Systems at Lubrizol in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University with bachelor’s degree in marketing and business management. Rehker has eight years of marketing experience and is a member of AFSA’s NextGen Initiative.

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