In news that should surprise absolutely no one, and if it does, then I’m thrilled and slightly concerned that I have to break it to you, millennials are rapidly pushing baby boomers out of the workforce faster than a video of a cat goes viral. According to Digital Trends, 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every single day, and eager, upstart millennials are filling the void. Tech savvy millennials (youngsters aged 20-34) currently comprise 32% of the American workforce, and that is projected to grow to a whopping 75% by 2030. That’s right, in just 15 years, our skills, knowledge and experience, not to mention our actual job function, could end up woefully archaic.
This monumental shift in the workforce population carries extreme weight for the economy in general, and how it is people, particularly millennials, work today. Due to the heavy reliance on and evolution of technology in many fields and industries, the days of clocking into a drab cubicle from nine to five are falling by the wayside. Eighty-four percent of Americans report working monthly from home more than once a month, while 24% telecommute on a weekly basis.
This is in large part due to the rise of the freelance economy, a sector that comprises more than 53 million Americans (or a third of the workforce) who contribute more than $715 billion to the American economy. Compare that to less than 20 years ago in 1997 where a meager 14% of Americans were self-employed. This growth is skyrocketing as more and more people find alternative means to make ends meet, and it will only continue to burgeon as technology equips us with innovative new ways to make a buck.
But its not just freelancers who get the luxury of sitting on their asses at home in pajamas binge watching “Friday Night Lights” because they never got around to it while “working.” More than 40% of companies have adopted some form of telecommuting policy. Whether you work for the big man or are a free agent, chances are, you can, and will be able to work from home in some capacity.
Despite all of our annoying tendencies, credit millennials for one thing: we are, by nature, extremely entrepreneurial. Millennials have transformed the workforce almost entirely from what is once was when their grandparents entered, and as thousands of them head to Boca for an oppressively muggy retirement, swarms of Gen Y, and soon, those obnoxious whippersnappers known as Gen Z, will flood the American workforce and economy, driving it more mobile and creating opportunities outside of the traditional employer-employee model of working.
Take a look at me. As I write this piece about millennials and the evolution of the American workforce and economy, I’m sitting at my dining table at home on top of my cube chair, nursing last night’s hangover from artisanal whiskey while being simultaneously distracted by notifications from text, Twitter, Snapchat, not to mention my own procrastination fueled by StumbleUpon and benign Buzzfeed quizzes. Welcome to the future of the American workforce. I am millennial, hear me roar!