Misunderstanding millennialsLEE SO-A
The author is an industrial 2 team reporter at the JoongAng Ilbo.
Millennials have quickly become the most-discussed generation. Research about young people ranging from their early 20s to late 30s, including their spending habits and values, seems to come out everyday. But today’s politicians seem to have no idea how to understand millennials.
The biggest discrepancy is fairness. Millennials were born after the 1980s, after most ideological confrontations had been concluded, and they were thought to have enjoyed economic abundance and quality education. Instead, they lived in a fierce competition of free trade and globalization. The 2008 financial crisis and economic slump, low growth, low interest rates and employment challenges have made them “the first generation poorer than their parent’s generation.”
Kookmin University’s business professor Lee Eun-hyun, author of “How to Work with Millennials” analyzed that as a generation that personally experienced an economic crisis, they have an awareness of the greed of capitalism, problems of polarization and unfairness and have a sense of fairness. Fairness is about equality and justness. Young people who work hard but are faced with economic and social-structural limits are frustrated when fairness in opportunity is broken and the process of achievement is not lawful and ethical.
The Moon Jae-in administration won support promising equal opportunity, fair process and just outcomes. But I think the government and the ruling party need to reconsider their slogan. They are mistaken if they define millennials as a young generation with strong progressive tendencies and unconditional support for the administration established through the candlelight revolution.