Take a look at how each group uses technology and it is evident that Baby Boomers and Millennials operate differently. From using iPads for notetaking during meetings rather than legal pads (Millennials), to preferring BlackBerry smartphones over iPhones (Boomers), it is clear that a generation gap exists. When you get into personal interactions....well. I don't have enough fingers (or toes for that matter) to count how many times my parents have prefaced a personal anecdote with "Back in my day...."
Where the workplace and consumer markets are concerned, generational translations define how we interact. I've held numerous training workshops for my parents to show them how to competently operate their smartphones. Conversely, they taught me the intrinsic value of face-to-face communication over social communication via mobile apps. For Millennials (those born in the period 1981-2000), this symbiosis is essential to the evolution of the global society and workforce.
This relationship is illustrated in the global spending market. Business intelligence indicates that the global leaders in spending will shift from Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) to millennials in the coming years. Boomers control 50% of overall assets in the United States. Additionally, 70% of disposable income in the U.S. is possessed by their demographic.
Baby Boomers have the influence to set trends in the market, as well as the resources to power the market through difficult economic circumstances. With high salaries and diverse investment portfolios, they are comfortably the leaders in the global spending market in the present.
Meanwhile, Millennials are taking an indirect route to wealth. For the past several years, high youth unemployment rates and an over-saturated job market are restricting career opportunities for them. Conventional paths to high-salaried jobs have been blocked or truncated. One detour that some Millennials are using to wait out or go around the soft job market is higher education. This global student market is establishing itself as a viable sub-segment in the Millennial demographic.
Higher education represents an opportunity to acquire skills and certification that appeals to prospective employers. College degrees are becoming the standard for jobs that require minimal skill. The corporate demand for candidates with advanced degrees is increasing by the minute. Millennials are adapting to these trends and acting accordingly.
The rising costs of higher education in the U.S. has also led students to seek opportunities abroad. This will expand the student base and increase diversity in new entrants in the international job market. This confluence of student diversity and the desire to increase earning potential is creating a robust atmosphere of talent and drive. Whether furthering an existing career or changing career paths, higher education is the gatekeeper to the goals of the Millennial generation.
Education lending will also thrive because of the younger generation. The increased importance of obtaining a college degree paired with a higher cost of living will force people to borrow money in order to maintain their lifestyle and accomplish their goals. The number of people enrolled in higher education increased by 26% in the period of 2007-2012 which amounts to about 193 million people. And the student market will continue to borrow while balancing major risks accompanying the accumulation of debt. Recent data shows that the salaries earned by graduates aren't enough to pay off their debt. And this is limiting economic recovery and the ability to keep students above the poverty level.
Millennials are tech savvy, socially and politcally progressive, and not conservative when it comes to spending money. They are acquiring the qualifications and credentials to earn the money to support their lifestyle in the face of the risks identified earlier. There's a perfect storm brewing and marketers are stacking up the sandbags to divert the flood into their funnels. When storm is over, Millenials will emerge as new leader of the global spending market.
For more information on the global student market, click below.
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