IT Employment

Millennials seen as having least analytical acumen

A recent survey says that Millennials are less likely to have strong analytical skills for data management, like their other-aged counterparts. Could this be right?

It’s no secret that the IT pro of today and the future will have to have strong analytical skills to be contenders in the data management sector.

Countless surveys show managers seeking analytical skills—the ability to know what to look for, what questions to ask, and how to make inferences and draw conclusions from an organization’s data.

What I’m not so sure about is a survey that claims that among Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials, the latter have the least acumen in that area.

Questionable respondent pool?

The survey results could very well be true but I question the way that conclusion was drawn. American Management Association surveyed nearly 800 respondents from more than 50 industries, asking participants to assess the analytical skills of their employees by age group.

Who the respondents were was not exactly clear in the press release I received so I emailed them back. I wanted to know who was making the judgment about this group of employees. Was it their managers?

The answer came back as “The AMA database consists of middle to upper management, so yes ‘managers’ of employees were surveyed and many of these are HR executives.” I don’t like those quotes around ‘manager.’ Basically, I’m still unclear.

Why it matters

The reason this factor is important to me is because the conclusion was reached from personal opinion rather than any kind of testing of Millennials. I’m not convinced that managers are the end-all and be-all of employee strengths and weaknesses (although they should be), and I’m really not convinced that anyone in HR would be able to judge the strengths and weaknesses of anyone in a large organization who does not report directly up to them.

Depending on the size of the company, your HR person might not be able to recognize an employee in a line-up, much less be able to judge skills.

I’d like to get the take of IT managers in our audience. What do you think? Is one age group better able to think analytically than another?



About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

60 comments
jack9223
jack9223

I am not a Millennial, but I have the greatest admiration for your speed in mobility and passion to achieve results that can be stagnated by caution from our age. 

RacerRex, you are not born in the wrong age.  You have amazing opportunities that will drive your success.  Every age group is surrounded by those who have no direction which only makes your abilities stand out among the rest of the group. 

In our sector, it is my interest to find talent in all age groups, culture and share knowledge to build dynamic teams.  Not everyone feels the same, but when the results exceed expectations- people will notice you.

The old cliché, "it's not rocket science." 

johnbendie
johnbendie

Valid points from a lot of comments. As someone who taught himself computer science and mathematics I am of the opinion that analytic skills come or should I say ripen with age just as experience does. No matter the degree of analytic skills anyone may possess at a certain age depending on comprehensive abilities they grow sharper with age. And people tend to forget how they started and want to shoebox others into the tail-end of their experience curve. Naturally as people take up managerial roles the desire to improve ones analytic skills just appears especially if the motivation is there in the environment. 

Just heaping the blame on Millenials lack of motivation when teachers can't find valid use cases that students can relate with for teaching Set theory or the wisdom in numbers and how to use logic to make sense of those and how they define every aspect of who we are is slop-sided reasoning. 

I encourage a sequel looking at the failure of the older generation in passing valuable knowledge in a fun interactive and truthful manner to the younger generation who is living in a much more information overloaded world than their so-called predecessors. 

So to retrace and answer the question posed by the OP. There is nothing wrong in one age group being more analytically minded than the other. Though I don't have the facts I'm sure they have never been at par throughout history. It's a function of age. As we age our eyes grow stronger at God's secret of creation, Numbers. 


Zorched
Zorched

The problem is twofold.

With the ubiquity of computers, you have a apathy towards how said device actually works.  For instance, do you know how your refrigerator works down to the processes inside it?  No?  Why not?  It's the same argument here.  It's been around so long you just take for granted its presence.

For the younger generation, high technology's been around their whole lives and just works, and works well enough that they don't HAVE to learn how to troubleshoot it.  They don't consider the dangers of using it any more than, as a young child, they would consider the danger of sticking a butter knife in an electrical outlet.  Oooooh, Fun!  

Not until they're burnt by it will they consider the dangers or the necessities of maintaining said technology.  As long as there's a geek that the person can sweet talk into fixing their problems (just like the housewife of old kissing up to the handyman of the neighborhood), they won't have to.

In short, they don't believe they need analytical skills these days. 

 In addition, being a geek still doesn't have street cred.  So, what's the motivation to develop those skills if you're just going to be ridiculed for it?  Our society is still far too stuck on emphasizing physical prowess (to get the girl) over being smart.  Believe me, geeks still want to get the girl.  Example? Bill gates didn't get married until he was 39, after he had already gotten filthy rich.  What does that tell you about how geeks/nerds are rated by the opposite gender these days?  Had I known the ridicule I was going to face by being a geek, then I would have tried harder at sports, but I didn't see the societal value in "Hulk, SMASH! Drag woman to cave!"  In other words, they do what's cool to fit in, and being analytical isn't it.  What they DO want is the money, and tech is where it's at, but by the time they figure that out, it much harder to develop a analytical mindset.

RacerRex9727
RacerRex9727

I'm 24 and I can't argue with this article. I didn't grow up like a typical millennial. My parents pushed me hard through private school and spent their savings on my tuition. I never really fit in with the rich kids who spent wildly with their parents' money and were only motivated to party, drink, and get high (they pretty much live with their parents now and are unemployed). By college, I got tired of my age group and their meaningless apathy towards everything and just focused on studying Supply Chain Management and getting out of school.  I did develop an arrogant millennial attitude though, and I thought my degree would guarantee job security. But when I was 22, my first job out of college went overseas to China, and while I was devastated I am glad it happened. It opened me up to an internship at a  Fortune 500, motivated me to not get laid off again, and I taught myself programming and algorithm development at night and on weekends for two years straight, and I did get a full-time job there.

 Two years later, I'm building decision tree algorithms making a global industry-wide impact. I got a significant raise in one year, and the decision support system I built is turning an entire industry upside down. I learned to embrace analytical problem solving, and sacrificed sleep and a personal life to disrupt the status quo with an algorithm. I beat so many odds by the grace of God and am not living the narrative of a typical millennial, and I'm getting raises and making money beyond my wildest expectations.

 It's lonely though, I get along great with people over 30 but completely clash with people my own age. I swear I get so angry when I see my age group not even trying. They don't even struggle. They just sit in their parents' basement and play video games all day. I even met a 29-year-old girl who literally said "I don't know what I want to be when I grow up".  I feel lonely being surrounded by a bunch of Beavis and Buttheads in my generation. The only people who get me are my coworkers who are 10-15 years older and are married. I am born in the wrong generation.

JonathanPDX
JonathanPDX

Watch the movie "Idiocracy". 

It will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about where society is headed.

jond4u
jond4u

Sorry Toni,


There is plenty of clinical evidence to back up the findings of this study, and it is all to real, and too big a problem to ignore.  It goes way beyond IT as well.  Let's start with a study conducted at Tübingen by the German Psych Assn. which published just before year 2K that documented a decline in perceptual acuity over the years of the study.  I wrote an article "Shades of Gray Going Away" to talk about the problem of the increasing inability of our younger generations to discern subtleties, such as shades of gray, which you can Google.  But over the last few years; I've spent a lot of time talking to Educators and scientific Researchers about the possible cause of decline in analytic ability and how we can combat this problem.


I've heard Nobel laureates talk about it, listened to numerous Physics and Chemistry professors lamenting the fact there is such a major problem, and communicated with experts in Learning and Cognition, Neuroscience, Education Research, and more - trying to sort out how things got this way, and what can be done to turn things around.  I think settings guidelines like Common Core can only help our young people if we are prepared to grapple with some of the underlying problems, and begin to train kids in a way that's more in line with how nature has wired them to learn.  But to imagine there is no problem because the basis for this study is opinion is bogus.  If it was not so serious, I'd be laughing out loud.

Unfortunately; the study is correct, and our Millenials are deficient when compared with those of similar education 10 or 20 years older.  They were taught and learned how to memorize, because it was thought to be the only way enough information could be conveyed.  But in order to help them, or fix the problem that made things this way, we need to acknowledge there is a problem.  So let's talk about how we can make things better, rather than pretending the study can't be right.  Our young people continue to be our brightest hope, but that does not mean we have done a good job preparing them to create a bright future.

duckboxxer
duckboxxer

Regardless of one's opinion of the survey, there is a valid conclusion from it. I am looking at this from an IT perspective. Younger generations are not are not the systemic thinkers of prior ones. I was a developer, and the current crop continues to disappoint me. Lack of knowledge of frameworks, poor database design, hardcoding, no error checking, are all skills mid to senior level developers are missing. So of course they can't pass that on that knowledge to the next generation. If there is a question, they don't seem to ask, research, dig for a good solution. Or it is just ignored. Assumptions are made, frequently incorrect, that are only discovered far too late in the process. There is little initiative. The best class I had in school was poorly titled Programming Languages. We discussed basic programming concepts, e.g. loops, conditions, variable definition, structures. Our assignments would simply be something like write an IF statement in C, Pascal, ADA, FORTRAN and COBOL. We had never been shown 3 of those languages before. We had to go find out how on our own.

Another unfortunate source I tend to blame are the development tools available. I hate to say 'back in my day', but it's true, I could write my code in NotePad. Todays crop couldn't do that if they had to. They don't know the basics. Tools are so drop and drag, do it for you, that programmers (not developers, I see them as two different things) don't have to think. And if you have poor testers (if you have any at all) you perpetuate poor applications and have maintenance nightmares. Going back and modifying code that was generated is amazingly difficult. Customizing it to begin with is difficult enough if you don't understand the rat's nest of code that your tool has generated for you.

I just ponder, how far have we progressed from Microsoft FrontPage.

molly_dog
molly_dog

I've been saying for years that people born after the early '80s just aren't as sharp as they used to be. My opinion is/was not based on high-level skills, rather on simple abilities like correctly completing a job application; being able to follow instructions; remembering routine tasks; even just staying busy without constant supervision even after a month on the job. 

j-mccurdy
j-mccurdy

I have a teenage son who is a good student, and my wife teaches at a university so I also get to hear her horror story's. I hate to beak it to the millennial author of this article but this study is 100% correct.  We see this literally every single day.

firstaborean
firstaborean

I'm reminded of Kornbluth's story, "The Marching Morons," and I hope it's not true.

ravi_kp_com
ravi_kp_com

I do not agree with the survey, there is increase in awareness about IT and handling of computers and other peripherals with the youngsters than the older people. even children are able to operate computers and tablets. It depends on the way the parents treat them and educate them. Millennials should excel in the field

BrianMWatson
BrianMWatson

I am a member of GenerationX.  I have a teenage son, and I have definitely noticed this with him and his friends.  When faced with a problem or challenge they either lack the drive or ability to simply figure things out (which is an analytical skill).  I fixed one of their cars in 10 minutes (I'm an IT guy, mind you - I don't work on cars and such!).  They didn't even bother to TRY.  They didn't even try Google for goodness sake!  It just seems to me that as a group (meaning, obviously NOT all of them) that if what's facing them isn't easily solved or the answer isn't easily found on the internet, they just accept the situation and move on (i.e. buy another whatever-it-is, throw it away, etc.).  Sad...

the1337beauty
the1337beauty

I disagree with this survey .... but I'm also on the early end of the Millenial generation (recent grad) and was hired into my current role specifically because of my analytical skills. My employer said when offering me the role, I had the appropriate mindset and analytical thinking that they were looking for. ..... but maybe I'm an exception?

ccs9623
ccs9623

Not only am I not surprised, I'm amazed that it took a formal survey to come to this conclusion.  I quit teaching programming classes in 2010 when there was NO one out of fifteen 11th and 12th graders who could grasp the basic concepts of variables and equations.  The pool of those that "got it" had been dwindling for years finally culminating in an entire class who didn't understand, and worse, didn't care.  Mind you, these are kids that "think" they are going into the technology field.  I am not a teacher by profession, I volunteered to teach these classes away from my normal gig as a Network Manager (30+ years experience).

Besides that anecdotal story, we've been home schooling our kids since kindergarten. The friends they made along the way who were in traditional government schools would get 'dumber and dumber' as the years went by.  It was blatantly obvious by high school that the government programs are teaching kids WHAT to think, not HOW to think.  Its all about passing the test.  

Anyone can prove the results of this study for themselves.  All you need to do is ask your local public school to allow you to sit in on one day of classes.  Follow the schedule of a typical teenager for a day, see what they are taught and then draw your own conclusion.  If you have not done this, then please don't tell me I'm wrong.  You need to see for yourself how poorly prepared the public school system is to educate kids beyond the lowest common denominator.  Yes, there are exceptions, but those are few and far between.

pdenorte
pdenorte

Venturing a guess I'd say this commentary give anecdotal support to the contention of the Survey.  All the issues with the vehicle are so well known they don't merit mention per se.  But significance of the result is more likely with regard to perception, not unimportant in itself.  All the verbiage around the weaknesses of this (and in fact any census) study,. as well as recapitulation of the meaning of "analytical skills" misses the relevant point.  "Everybody knows" that reasoning and logic skills, not to mention basic knowledge, have declined with recent generations.  This perception is nothing new.  The point is the specifics with respect a particular cohort.  The study is too limited and crude for reliability, but suggests that Millenials may be especially stereotyped.  This certainly seems the case among my fellow managers I know.  But would one really want to work for those who judge thus?  "The man who judges men by the lot is a pea-wit."  (Michael Sharra, The Killer Angels)

Zzznorch
Zzznorch

While I can understand and probably agree with the conclusion (being a baby boomer myself), I would also have to add that had you done this survey 25 years ago, you probably would have gotten the same results for the specific age groups.  My analytical skills are much better than they were in the 1980's.  I have a lot more experience and education than I did back then.  Eventually the millennials, assuming they are able to last in IT, will acquire the knowledge and skills we older folks have already picked up.

net.minder
net.minder

Within the broader range of "analytical skills" is a specific talent most of us call Troubleshooting. Yes, I call it a talent, not a skill! My career-long observation is that those who love to know how things work (and mess with them!) usually have this talent. The ones who don't have it are those people we know who notice reality and accept it that way, rarely questioning it. However, this does not mean they can't analyze some types of things - it just means they reeeaally struggle when they need to troubleshoot a problem.

Troubleshooting data problems is partly pattern-recognition, and partly basic scientific method. (Observe, hypothesize, make a change, observe, undo the change, repeat.) With experience comes much-improved pattern-recognition, of legacy data formats, knowlege of old assumptions that are intrinsic to some datasets. With experience also comes an appreciation for the careful tracking of each change you might make. I bet this makes you smile, because you also know young talented people who get into trouble when they skip a step. Patience, young Jedi!

My point is that noticing a Millenial who hasn't had these experiences and learned from them is to be expected, because they're young. However, we need to help them develop their talents by experience while still in school, college, and university.

Beyond that, we need to assess more fairly by testing for more than one kind of analytical skill ... and talent!

ttsquare
ttsquare

Isn't there an inherent bias in the data? How could a Millennial have as much experience with analytical thinking as someone who is older? If I've spent 10,000 hours working with troubleshooting and logic problems, I ought to be pretty good at it. 

I'm not saying there aren't inherent problems at Universities with how we educate future employees, only that it appears this was a survey for the sake of a survey.

EnEm1
EnEm1

Totally agree with "info". Today's IT techies do not have a clue as to where to begin the analysis of a problem. As for data analysis........."fogetboutit". And that's because today the speed of the machine and fault-tolerant programming languages cover up their errors and manage their spaghetti code! In the days of the Mainframe, nothing was assumed. All functionality had to be created and embedded in a program for it to function correctly.

Today's software "developers" cannot think in a systematic manner. They've never heard of the laws of logic. They don't have a clue what "A is A" means. They have the souls of second-handers. They never ask "is this right"; instead they want to know if "others think it's right".  And that's because today's school system focuses on ensuring that a kid "plays well with others", which smothers any fire that a loner who can think for himself has,in return for being accepted by his mindless peers.

EnEm1
EnEm1

Totally agree with "info". Today's IT techies do not have a clue as to where to begin the analysis of a problem. As for data analysis........."fogetboutit". And that's because today the speed of the machine and fault-tolerant programming languages cover up their errors and manage their spaghetti code! In the days of the Mainframe, nothing was assumed. All functionality had to be created and embedded in a program for it to function correctly.

Today's software "developers" cannot think in a systematic manner. They've never heard of the laws of logic. They don't have a clue what "A is A" means. Pathetic.

info
info

Also, when we went to school, the emphasis was on performing to a certain standard. You didn't make the grade? You failed. You either tried again, or you did something with lower performance expectations. Today, the emphasis is on PC 'feel good'. Too many people in a class failed? Well, just lower the pass mark and BINGO. Now most of them pass! Right up until college graduation! It's participation that counts, right? Not whether you can actually build, say, a passenger airliner, to specifications so people don't DIE.

And yes, we're biased as a group. I had a natural talent for computers, and I've been singled out as being an 'arrogant a$$hole' because I was able to analyze and solve technical problems orders of magnitude faster than the rest of my team members. Even though I always stopped to explain my methodologies to them so they would learn. I've heard from ex-managers later on that I'd been let go from certain positions because I 'made their departments look bad' when it came to performance reviews and budgetary funding. (And no, I'm not a Sheldon from 'Big Bang Theory', either (although I did avoid programming because I figured that's what I'd become). I have my current position because I get along well with everyone.) So a lot of less personable IT Managers could look at the young ones and immediately judge them as wanting.


And we're all growing older. It is VERY easy to shake our canes at the young punks and worry about our futures in old folks homes. I'm sure there are many that are just as talented as we were at the same age, but it's harder to see them. We came from a time where you had to be at a certain tech level to even touch a computer. Now we're giving iPhones to pre-school children.

DFO_REXX
DFO_REXX

I agree with @jeb.hoge... many people with a high level of analytical skills find it hard to market themselves.  In the modern job environment, the focus seems to have moved away from "can this person do the job" to "does this person look like they can do the job."

A high percentage of "find a job" websites, classes, and organizations focus on writing a resume, building a portfolio, taking nice pictures... in short, market yourself, skills be damned.  Ten years ago we were fold to build our skill sets, have diverse skills, and improve our people skills; today we're told what type of resume to write, have a graphic to show how we would help YOUR company, dress perfectly, and so on, something I call "style over substance".  HR has fallen into this very deeply.

People with highly-developed analytical skills sometimes find this hard to do.  I know I do.

DavidTheConsultant
DavidTheConsultant

"Millennials are less likely to have strong analytical skills for data management, like their other-aged counterparts. Could this be right?"

Yes and no.

Yes... at least in my experience. The majority of millennials I interview can't properly reason their way out of an unlocked equipment rack, and do perform poorly when compared with candidates I've interviewed 20 --or even 10-- years ago.  

And No, because it's not right grammatically. I think you mean *unlike*, "in contrast to", or "when compared against" or something similar. As in "Millennials are less likely to have strong analytical skills..., unlike their other-aged counterparts."

Someone with the title of "Managing Editor" who has "edited newsletters, books, and web sites" should know better, or should have caught that mistake. Does "edited" here actually mean "written for"?

Shame on Mary Weilage (Senior Editor of the Daily Newsletter) as well, for not catching this. :-(

(Me? I'm a real-time control systems developer and I know my grammar sucks. One of the tools I use is called an editor, and it checks my work as I write code. It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing; and when properly used (in conjunction with other tools and techniques) it helps me create a higher quality product.)

DFO_REXX
DFO_REXX

Part of the problem is the over-abundance of loud, "certain" people in media, especially the Internet and cable television.  By "certain" I mean people who KNOW they are right, whether they are right or wrong.  This encourages "believing what you hear without question" rather than, "Is what they are saying correct?  How do I know?"

Children learn from their parents.  My children are college-aged, and they are quite capable of analytic thinking because my wife and I made sure they were.  Of course they don't always use this skill, but then again, even I don't... and I've often been accused of over-analyzing everything.

@hleehing, the question does not relate to Merrill and Reid's social styles, it's about millenials' questionable ability to analyze a situation.  Anyone, even an extreme expressive, can have analytical skills.  Please try to stay on topic.

MDCrowe
MDCrowe

My company runs a leadership development program that makes up about 12% of our staff. It appears to me that the analytical skills run at about the same rate as the rest of our staff which runs the gamut of age groups. Some folks can do it well, others not so well. I wonder how many of the 'managers' doing the ratings were of the opinion--"If you don't do it like I do it, it's not good enough." I've been in IT since it was called computers (1973) and I still think there are new and different ways to come to good results even if I didn't think of them myself.

hleehing
hleehing

Does everyone on this blog  realize (s)he is an 'analytical'? It's the old 'my sign better than your sign'

syndrome when dealing with astrology, when in fact each of us has some component of each sign.

There are four basic groupings of personalities: Analyticals, Expressives, Drivers and Amiables.

If this were a musicians blog you can imagine that they would be saying that computer scientists have no feelings, that they are dry and matter of fact. Ask your non-analytical children, nephews and nieces what they think of you...I'll bet their responses would all be the same.

Face it, we all believe that our ability to analyze is the best! In other words this is a biased niche grouping!

jeb.hoge
jeb.hoge

The admittedly non-scientific observations that I've heard from many in education is that current/recent teaching and testing methods just don't build in children the opportunity to practice independent, analytic thought & processes for developing conclusions. We've seen it with some interns when they're asked to put together "executive summaries" of options and recommendations; they copy content from vendor websites and never summarize or weigh benefits and risks, and when we pushed them to (hey, internships are supposed to be about learning), it clearly made them uncomfortable. One intern said he'd never had anyone do that to him, and he was a college grad getting ready to go for a Master's.

But it's not limited to "millennials"...I've seen this in workers of Gen-X and older, too. It just seems to be trending more acutely as ages go down.

What's really frustrating about it is that people who *do* have those skills, the ability to analyze, synthesis, and explain useful conclusions based on research and business intel, they find it hard to either market themselves when job-seeking or to gain traction in developing their own careers. It's a battle of the haves vs. have-nots, and when your management is a have-not and doesn't get the value of independent thinking or can't keep up with someone who's good at it, then it's usually the boss who gets his or her way and the "thinker" has to get back in the box.

webweasel2
webweasel2

While I also question the value of such a survey given the factors surrounding it, I'd have to agree that analytical ability is most definitely on the decline. Two issues factor into my reasoning.

First, when presented with a problem, many of the younger generation immediately turn to pop a few words into a search engine or some information into a spreadsheet.

Also, to a large degree, if they haven't seen it, then it isn't true. My son (sharp kid, for the most part) was the first instance of my realization of that fact. (Backward compatible RAM) If the component SAYS it, then it's a fact. Kind of the analytic equivalent of "Well it was on the internet so it MUST be true!"

Mike

JGuysky
JGuysky

I have commented on websites maybe five times in my life, but I felt compelled to defend my generation. I am a 22-year-old IT manager of a sleep testing lab and I take issue with this survey's results. Not only was the entire thing flawed from the get-go but it seemed to insinuate that many of us millennials are completely unable to solve problems. To me, it comes down to personality and training. If you have a good education preparing you for a job, then you will be able to solve problems and think analytically. 

I do agree that education has failed to keep up with the changing needs of students. In my parent's day if you had to write a book report you had to scour encyclopedias and find the correct info, which taught analytical thinking in the process. Now, you can Google anything so that part of writing reports and essays is gone. But education has failed to realize this and still thinks you can get the same value out of curriculums that are 50+ years old.   

And, a good IT person today will know what's under the hood and work to understand the delicate balance between hardware and software and work to get the most out of their hardware, regardless of speed.

Finally, as a 5th year CSE student at MSU (Go Green!) I can tell you that we do almost nothing in java. And hold it in the same regard as most of you. We start on python and move to C, C++. After that we go heavily into theoretical computing and learning to refine the ways computers and code function to make them more efficient.

And, your children aren't a large enough sample size to come to any adequate conclusion, as wonderful as they might be. 

Systems Guy
Systems Guy

Sadly, I agree.  I have two children, both graduated from college, but neither strongly analytical.  Of the two, the oldest is probably the most analytical.  At one time I tried to encourage them to consider a career in computers. But as at least one other has mentioned, they, to a degree, consider most computers a magic box.  They've helped me build PC's and understand that part, but programming and the thought processes needed for that task, they could care less.

bill
bill

There has to be a better metric for determining the answer to this question. 

We use comparative test scores, curriculum, and other metrics to make comparisons between schools and even entire national education systems on a routine basis.  A survey of managers and HR staff is a gauge of  opinion, not a reliable comparative measurement.

It would be interesting to see the actual survey question(s), the raw data, and which of the 5 or more methods the survey used to crunch the numbers.  It's very difficult to design a vaild survey; I suspect there are problems with this one.

Besides, we shouldn't be beating up on the younger generation, we should be hoping that they'll be able to take care of us cadgers.

lionelmm
lionelmm

I see it in my nieces and nephews and all of their friends--they cannot hold a conversation or stay engaged for but a few minutes. Their train of thought is all over the place. Their concentration is horrible. All these are required for good analysis. They don't read--they watch videos to get their information. I see problems in this approach to gaining knowledge.

nyssssa
nyssssa

Even if the study is flawless and completely correct, it is not helpful.  Companies don't hire cohorts, they hire individuals.  Some of those individuals will have good analytical skills, and some won't.

RacerRex9727
RacerRex9727

There is a world of opportunity in automation. Teach yourself Java, C#, C++, or even just VBA, practice your business acumen so you're not just the "IT guy",  and you will leverage a very solid career. But apparently millennials don't have the curiosity or the spark to figure out how their iPhone works, and how to solve problems of the world. It frustrates me deeply. I am born in the wrong generation.

j-mccurdy
j-mccurdy

@BrianMWatson  

My wife teaches at a university and we have a teenage son and we see the exact same things. 

jk2001
jk2001

@Zzznorch I agree.  As I've aged, my mind has gotten slower, but my ability to weed out the noise from the signal has increased.  Analyzing situations is a skill that is learned, and that just takes time and effort.  You can also read books to learn it, too.  You have to read a bunch of case studies or anecdotes.

j-mccurdy
j-mccurdy

@net.minder  The problem is the public education system and the lack of problem solving skills that is being nurtured that we're seeing is unprecedented. I've never seen a group of people who declare a problem unsolvable so quickly until this generation. It's quite disturbing really.

pdenorte
pdenorte

@EnEm1 Please send Leonard S. Peikoff his royalties!  

pdenorte
pdenorte

@DavidTheConsultantYou're quite correct.  However in a larger sense let us consider: not all snarks are Boojums, but they're all snarky.   

BQRealityBites
BQRealityBites

True statement...but how many times do you ask a question of people where you are looking for thought to be put into the answer from a younger employee and what you basically get back is the stand-by "Because" type of answer - ie - "WHY did X happen?"

Datadad
Datadad

@JGuysky Unfortunately, your response only serves to validate the very points you allegedly defend your generation from.  1. The author begins her piece by stating that she doesn't believe this survey is empirically valid.  2. You make no mention of any factual information used to determine "the entire thing flawed".   3. Insinuation is significantly different from inference.   4. Your second paragraph is a verbal babbling brook that delivers a grammatical assault to literate readers. By the way; the 3Rs from 50+ years ago are still in vogue outside of academia.   5. NEVER start a sentence, let alone a paragraph with "and", even though "paragraph" 3 is nothing more than a run-on.   6. Programmers — new and seasoned alike — are picking up Java as mobile becomes the future of consumer software (outside of East Lansing at least), aka Google.   7. Go back to sleep and perhaps this nightmare of a "defense" will be gone in the morning.


j-mccurdy
j-mccurdy

@JGuysky  It sounds like you're the exception rather than the rule. I can assure you that my wife and I who is a university professor witness this bazaar lack of problem solving skills on a daily basis.  If you have these skills which I can tell you are rare among this generation, then you should be able to make your competition look bad while making yourself look good. And these skills were probably taught to you at home and not in our public education system.

Bear in mind this is an indictment of our public education system and not of your generation.

the1337beauty
the1337beauty

@JGuysky thanks for defending our generation :) I agree that it comes down to personality and training.

Datadad
Datadad

@bill Careful Bill. Yours sounds like a thoughtful, empirically-based methodology. How can they (the younger generation[s]) determine if we codgers need our Depends changed without developing adequate analytical skills? 

Datadad
Datadad

@nyssssa Said companies hire these mystically "analytically skilled" individuals using what method(s)? Dartboards, eenie-meenie-miny-mo (sp?), fortune tellers, musical chairs? 

Not to worry @pdenorte, no logic or reason was used or harmed in the making of Nyssssa's previous post.

pdenorte
pdenorte

@nyssssa Ouch!  Please Nyssssa!  No logic or reason!  Our heads hurt.  ;)

duckboxxer
duckboxxer

The system needs to change so that students learn more than to just pass the test. I understand the need for standardized testing, but students are the ones that lose when there is so much focus on passing the test rather than problem solving.

Datadad
Datadad

@j-mccurdy  I certainly hope you're not purporting to be a public education "poster child" for grammar and spelling. 

Returning to a "related" topic, making "your competition look bad while making yourself look good" isn't germane to a generalized discussion of millennials' analytical abilities, or a lack thereof. I'm an "analytically capable" graduate of public schools (class of '83) who has watched with dismay as "the younger generations" (Gen X as a general starting point) display less analytic abilities and seemingly less desire to determine "why or how" something does/did what it does/did. I would modify the conclusions of @the1337beauty and @JGuysky that it takes intelligence, personality and training, in that order.

A simple but telling example is to add in the "silver" and "copper" to a fast-food/7-11 total after they punched in the bill total, e.g., $11.57 payment for a $6.32 bill after they have punched in either $11 or $10. You'll almost invariably get a mathematical meltdown (best case) or complete mental vaporlock (worst case).

Lest we digress even further, actually read and analyze the major caveat that the author made; “The AMA database consists of middle to upper management, so yes ‘managers’ of employees were surveyed and many of these are HR executives.” I don’t like those quotes around ‘manager.’ Basically, I’m still unclear. 

The reason this factor is important to me is because the conclusion was reached from personal opinion rather than any kind of testing of Millennials. I’m not convinced that managers are the end-all and be-all of employee strengths and weaknesses (although they should be), and I’m really not convinced that anyone in HR would be able to judge the strengths and weaknesses of anyone in a large organization who does not report directly up to them."