This makes a lot of sense. You’ve got a new generation of workers, so-called Millennials, coming into their own just as technology has made starting a new business as easy as creating an app or building a website. So I guess it’s no real surprise that GoDaddy-sponsored research found that Millennials are the most entrepreneurial generation in history. In fact, the research of 7,291 people around the globe – which was conducted by Vrge Analytics and Morar – found that Millennials were six times more likely to start a new business at a young age than the Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-1964) were decades ago.
This trend will have a huge impact on the workforce. First off, Millennials are the first generation unburdened by a 9-to-5 mentality. To them, the work is elastic – there is no reason that if they have to work on a memo at midnight on Tuesday that they shouldn’t be able to go get a massage at 11am on Wednesday morning. But it goes beyond pure scheduling. It speaks to a state of mind about controlling one’s destiny. GoDaddy research has found that the allure of working when you want, how you want, where you want is irresistible to Millennials.
So, merge the growth of app-based businesses with the growth of so-called Sharing Economy opportunities and you have the emergence of a different type of work.
“We’re entering a Golden Age for entrepreneurs across the world,” said GoDaddy’s CEO Blake Irving. “The combination of accessible technology, cultural acceptance of startups, and the desire for more flexibility in our lives, is causing people to pursue their true career passions at a rate never seen before in history.”
These changes have implications in the relationship between businesses, government and citizens. For example, since the 1920s, corporations have become the central collection point for taxes and distribution point for benefits such as health care. As we move away from a corporate-dominant model, we’ll need to re-imagine the structures that are currently in place.
Are these changes daunting and maybe even scary? You bet. But the United States has thrived by being on the front line of dynamic economic changes, whether it’s the shift from a manufacturing economy to services in the 1980s and 1990s, to the emergence of the Internet at the turn of the century. Understanding and leveraging these changes has been critical to America’s economic leadership.
Not that technology is necessarily good news. While 81 percent of those surveyed across eleven countries said technological advancements make starting a new company easier, 33 percent also said that new technologies led to them being laid off or a reduction in their work hours. In other words, technology is a two-edged sword: a joy to those who leverage it for new opportunities but a bane to those who are on the short end of the stick due to “progress.” And in a few years when we have self-driving trucks, ask drivers whether technology has been good to them.
The morale of the story is that it’s critical to be on the right side of economic change. You can rail against the tide (think coal workers in West Virginia), or you can accept that change is inevitable and get ahead of it. What is clear is that Millennials – more than any previous generation – intend to control their own destiny.