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Do we call them Millennials, Gen Y or something else?

We are frequently asked, “What is the ‘correct’ name for Millennials?” Do we call them Millennials, Generation Y, Echo Boomers, or something else? The answer is: It depends on where you live.


What is the correct name for Millennials?

In the United States, the more popular name is Millennials. In every other country, the more popular name is Generation Y. The key thing to know is that Millennials and Generation Y are different names for the exact same generation. This is the generation born after Generation X and before Gen Z.

Interestingly, if you ask Millennials if they are a member of the Millennial generation, many of them will say, “No way!” because they don’t feel that they are part of this generation. We see this self-identifying response stemming from two main reasons:

  • Millennials and members of Gen Y—remember, the same generation—are known for believing that they are special and unique. (As a Millennial writing this article, I completely agree!) If you have been told repeatedly that you are special, unique, and one of a kind, then the idea behind a generation—that you are similar to a whole bunch of people approximately your same age—runs directly in conflict with your self-identification of uniqueness. Ironically, the fact that Millennials feel unique and special actually makes them more like other Millennials. But don’t try telling us that.
  • Many of the more common generalizations about Millennials are not flattering. We’ve all heard them: Millennials act entitled, expect to be promoted after three months on the job, or depend on their parents to help them financially well into their late 20s. Frankly, some of these generalizations are often not far from the truth—and it’s not only the accuracy that’s negative but also the judgment that seems to be associated with it. This is particularly true if a Millennial does not feel entitled, started working as a teenager, or has been financially responsible since a young age. (Yes, those Millennials exist, and in large numbers. One of them wrote this article.)

When it comes to the name, choose whichever name fits your geography: Millennials or Gen Y. One key tactic about the name that we share with executives, managers, and entrepreneurs is to pick one name to use within your company and stick with it. This reduces confusion and keeps everyone on the same generational page.

What is your experience with the Millennial generation (aka Gen Y)? Are they entitled or hard working, or have you seen both examples?

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