LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A new generation is changing the economic landscape, forcing large corporations and mom-and-pop shops alike to rethink the way they do business.
They're called "Millennials" - those Americans born between 1984-1993 that are now between the ages of 15 and 29. There are nearly 80 million of them, more than Generation X and the Baby Boomers.
By 2020, the Millennial generation will make up about 46 percent of the work force, according to Nancy Martinsen with the Human Resources Management Association.
"Millennials want to learn as much as they can," says Martinsen. "They're very ambitious and impatient."
As Millennials assume job roles vacated by retiring Baby Boomers, many companies are already shifting their focus to cater to the expectations of this new generation.
"There can be generational differences," says Martinsen. "As an employer, the best thing you can do is bring out the best in all the generations that you have there."
The largest difference, says psychotherapist Ken Clark, is that the Millennials generation has grown up with the Internet and other technology that gives them instant access to information and social interaction.
And because technology plays such an important role in their lives,
businesses are doing what they can to capture the nation's largest
"This is a generation that's largely existed without
delayed gratification," says Clark. "This is a generation more than
ever that looks at things, reads reviews."
With a click of a mouse or touch of a button on their smartphones,
hunting around for the best prices has changed the way millennials shop.
"Everybody in the marketplace is looking for a way to access the
disposable income that generation has, along with their insatiable need
for comfort and technology and connection," says Clark. "Smart
marketers, smart businesses, are looking for a way to draw this
generation into some feeling of significance."