The Millennial Age Group that Doesn’t Identify as Millennial

  | 4 min read

Research identifies a millennial as anyone born between the years 1981-2000. This means anyone between the ages 19-38. This group of people are mostly identified as the new technology era kids who grew up with mobile phones and the internet. However, while most people in the younger extreme of this age bracket feel aptly identified as millennials, most of the older members of the age bracket feel misidentified.

A quick poll on twitter reveals that there are those between this age bracket that do not identify as millennials.

older millennials vs younger millennials

…And some of the reasons given as to why they do not identify as millennials are;

older millennials vs younger millennials

The recent BrighterMonday Millennials Report conducted on over 8000 young urban employees has statistics on the age of the respondents as shown below.

older millennials vs younger millennials

View the complete report here.

Given the huge difference in age between the youngest and oldest millennial, it is no surprise that this group might not be a one size fits all. Let’s explore the reasons why.

Different Ages Experienced Different Levels of Technology

A quick search on Google for the word millennial and this is the kind of images you will find;

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Young people with a phone or a tablet completely in their zones ‘connecting’ with other people. Millennials 26 years and below completely relate to the above image. They were born at a time when phones and the internet were mainstream. For this millennial, their whole life can run online. If they want to buy something, they will look for an online store. If they can find it online why hustle going to a physical store?

Millennials born in the late 80’s and early 90’s, however, may not completely find the image above as definitive of them. Many people in this age bracket feel like they are not part of (in their view) highly sensationalized millennial generation. While they are highly versed in technology and all that comes with it, they don’t feel like it controls their lives as it apparently does the younger members of the group.

A Tale of Different Ideals and Somewhat Different Traits

Apart from personal factors like personalities, personal values, different economic and social backgrounds, the period one was born and the surrounding environment contributes to how they view the world. Millennials grew up in an online and socially-networked world and hey have received the highest levels of marketing attention.

They tend to be extremely optimistic because they grew up with the ever-present “helicopter parents” who kept telling them to “follow their dreams” and that they were special. Thus their confidence levels are unusually high as sometimes rub off as overconfident, arrogant and with a sense of entitlement to the other generations. A report states that these aspects and traits result in the millennial entering adulthood with unrealistic expectations and it mostly leads to disillusionment. It contributes to some of their unappealing traits in the workplace like impatience, lack of depth, job-hopping and a seemingly poor work ethic.

It is some of these traits that the older millennials feel don’t define them. The older millennials see themselves as more grounded and realistic when it comes to their perception of life and things that matter. They take time to think things through and have a better work ethic in the workplace.

Traits that Both Young and Older Millennials Share

Despite the fact that older millennials may at most times want to disassociate with the term millennials, there is no denying that there are certain traits that cut across the whole generation. This includes;

Tech-Savvy Nature of Millennials

The BrighterMonday report revealed that tools and technology are an important resource in the workplace.

older millennials vs younger millennials

Software and up-to-date technology are important components for all millennials in the workplace as they value high levels of efficiency and use of appropriate tools to make work easier.

Millennials are Team-Oriented

Millennials value team work and collaboration to attain goals and objectives set. Unlike the previous generations, millennials find more reward in collaborations and making the workplace a sports field rather than a battle field. The BrighterMonday Millennial Report revealed that millennials prefer collaboration over competition.

older millennials vs younger millennials

Millennials are Family-Centric

Millennials value personal time and consider jobs that give them more flexibility as more appealing. Flexibility for millennials means more time to incorporate other important facets of life like family, personal interest and hobbies. The BrighterMonday report showed that employees require family support from employers and that it influences their performance and productivity.

older millennial vs younger millennial


Given the above pointers, do you consider yourself an older,  younger or no millennial at all? Tell us in the comments.

Doreen Mueke
Doreen is the Senior Content Marketer at Ringier One Africa Media.