Tech & Work

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?


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.

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