3 Skills Millennials Lack – And Why That Isn't Such A Bad Thing

Ashley Ford

We Millennials value selfies over family photos, can’t leave the house without our phones, and 21 Oct 2012 --- Young adult woman presenting to coworkers. --- Image by © Hero Images/Corbisconstantly feel the need to share everything. We are multitaskers, optimists, and entrepreneurs. And we don’t deny we are also distracted, self-centered, and not the best team players. We are products of helicopter parenting, and shaped by technology and the Great Recession. We think, act, and want different things than previous generations did – and that’s ok. And even though most of us won’t admit it, we do have a lot to learn.

Here is a rundown of the top 3 skills Millennials lack – and why that isn’t such a bad thing.

Work experience

Millennials fresh out of college are typically back home with their parents, trying to adjust to 6 a.m. alarm clocks and 8-hour work days. Finding a job is challenging, because despite having a resume full of internships, study abroad programs, and volunteer work, we lack the most important thing: real work experience. Instead of spending a summer working a traditional 40-hour week, we chose to spend our summers starting a non-profit, traveling the world, or hanging out with friends. This isn’t “work experience” in the traditional sense, but experience in a different way: learning how to finance that non-profit, traveling across foreign countries, and making invaluable connections. Our resumes may not show hard skills, but we are well ahead of the curve on soft skills such as communication, thinking on the fly, and adaptability.


We are children of Baby Boomers and Gen X – people who had a new view on parenting. We were given more attention than other generations. We grew up with constant supervision, structured lives, and everything made available to us. With so much individual attention, we never learned patience. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Millennials are developing ways to be more efficient. Why wait in line at the bank to deposit a check or struggle to find a parking spot near your favorite restaurant; now you can visit the bank or order food delivery via an app on your phone. We are creating a sense of urgency because we want to get things done faster and more efficiently. And this lack of patience is changing the world and making our lives easier and more productive.

Separation of work and life

Millennials are constantly on our devices because we like to network. We use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and SnapChat not only to keep in touch with our friends, but to engage and build relationships with our work colleagues. Being digital natives, we grew up connected 24/7. We struggle to separate work and life because keeping them connected is the new norm. Most Millennials keep their phones within arms-reach, which means we can be in contact with friends and reply to work emails whenever and wherever. Millennials are not embracing the concept of a work-life balance, because we don’t think work is from 9 to 5. While we are only clocked-in for 8 hours, we gladly respond to messages outside of those hours because we’re already on our phones – it’s convenient. So much connectivity means Millennials are flipping the traditional work world on its head: Technology enables us, and our personalities encourage it.

Millennials have a wider range of skills and are more open to new ideas than previous generations. While we lack patience, experience, and a notion of a traditional work/life balance, we see our faults as opportunities to change the world for the better.

Want more insight on how to tap the best of today’s workforce? See 4 Ways to Take Advantage of the Talent Ecosystem.

Ashley Ford

About Ashley Ford

Ashley Ford is a digital marketer at SAP. She creates content relevant to small and midsize enterprises, and manages social media accounts and SME campaigns. Ashley recently graduated from the University of Washington where she studied Business Marketing and Entrepreneurship.