Debunking the Millennial Monolith Myth: A Peek into The Diverse Trust Tendencies among Young Millennials and Old Millennials
Millennials — the reigning buzzword for years now and everybody’s favorite reason for all the things wrong with our world today. In fact, writing and posting stories about them is a surefire way to creating buzz and getting the furious clicks that a marketing project is clamoring for. It doesn’t really matter if the rhetoric predominantly highlights the negative assumptions about them: lazy, entitled, obsessed with their phones, and or ruining the economy, because the audience eagerly laps it all up for cynical amusement. Are the people, however, being entertained by one homogeneous millennial generation or by a group of people who are surprisingly more diverse in their perceptions, and whom people from other generations like the baby boomers could even learn to empathize with?
It might be counter-intuitive to our discernment of millennials, but there is a lot more nuance to this generation, and shockingly, not all of them are actually a young spoiled adult child incapable of being financially independent. Some of them, particularly the younger millennials are even more practical and more willing to work overtime compared to their older cohort. Furthermore, EON Group’s nationwide survey, the Philippine Trust Index revealed there are two kinds of millennials, older (ages 25 to 34 in the study) and younger (18 to 24), and there are vast differences between them.
Older millennials are in reality more conservative than younger millennials when it comes to their interaction with news sources, and that neither of them ranks online news sites and blogs as reputable sources of information.
1. Let us begin with our most common assumptions about the millennials. We all presume that as a generation, Filipino millennials trust social media as an institution with all of their hearts (specifically their Facebook likes or Instagram hearts), but in reality millennials are exceptionally at odds in their perceptions of social media.
Younger millennials have the highest trust capacity for social media while the older millennials have the lowest trust scores for it among the four age groups involved in the study. Interestingly, and this is common for most of the six Philippine sectors that were surveyed, young millennials and old millennials occupied the opposite ends of the trust spectrum, with the age groups, 35 to 44, and 45+ often occupying the middle ground.
2. It may seem to their parents that millennials could never be bothered to look away from their phones even for one second, and they only get all of their information from social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter when the Philippine Trust Index shows otherwise: millennials acquire their information from the same sources as their parents.
Television and radio are the two most trusted sources of information for Filipinos across all age groups. Moreover, social networking sites take the third spot for young millennials while it’s newspapers for the older millennials. The table below emphasizes how older millennials are in reality more conservative than younger millennials when it comes to their interaction with news sources, and that neither of them ranks online news sites and blogs as reputable sources of information.
3. 2017 was the year of the Government sector. Filipinos’ extreme trust in the sector increased from 11.6 percentage points to (PP) to 28.6 PP, and it is no surprise that it was the most talked about sector in social media. Where there is social media, however, there are the millennials, and they did not hold back from participating in the conversation. Across all age groups, the millennials generally are the most skeptical of the government but the older millennials are significantly more distrustful of the sector than the younger millennials.
4. In the Business sector, they both perceive Healthcare, Food and Beverages, and Energy and Power as the most trustworthy out of all the commerce industries included in the PTI. On the other hand, younger millennials distrust Banking and Finance the most while it’s water and sanitation for older millennials. Although their trust ratings are similar, their varying capacity to trust on certain industries still shows substantial discrepancy.
5. When it comes to doing business, the Philippine Trust Index indicates how Filipinos across all age groups in the study have specific standards for industries to operate with. And like we have said here before, millennials are interestingly divided in their perception of how businesses should interact with their stakeholders. Both younger millennials and older millennials want businesses to give good salaries and benefits and to treat their customers well, but the former also prioritizes improved quality of products and services and inclusiveness (non-discrimination on race, gender, etc.) whereas the latter is not as passionately involved with these two trust drivers.
Evidently, younger millennials have a more idealistic perception of business standards compared to their older cohort. Older millennials mainly judge the credibility and strength of businesses based on their bottom line — maximizing profits. With this data we are able to determine that both age groups are driven by what good industries can do for the Filipino people, but for the younger millennials it’s an absolute priority.
6. With the numerous stereotypes surrounding the millennial generation, it is quite refreshing to know that as a group of people they truly value truth and transparency, and they actually demand this from Philippine society. Among the six sectors surveyed in the Philippine Trust Index, both millennials trust the Church, Academe and Media the most, respectively, while they are highly skeptical of the Non-government, Business and the Government. Their trust capacity for all sectors might be similar but the trust ratings do still have significant variances, specifically in Media and Business wherein they again occupy the opposite ends of the trust spectrum.
The Philippine Trust Index has even revealed that an individual is more likely to perceive and behave similarly with people from the same socioeconomic background or location of residence (urban vs. rural) rather than with people from the same age group.
Like any generation before them, millennials are judged harshly as they are on the verge to dominate the workforce and have the biggest spending power in the economy for the next 30 years. Ultimately, the amount of spotlight being focused on them has led to countless myths, false information and some truths, all of which are to be equally devoured by society. With the Philippine Trust Index, we have gained new insights, and more importantly truthful information about the Generation Y (millennials).
The first thing we need to understand is that the millennial generation is no monolith. They may have a few similarities as a group, but ultimately there is even more divergence within this generation compared to other generations in the study. We learn that the older millennials are even more skeptical of social media than those aged 45 years old and above, and that younger millennials are generally the most trusting of all Philippine sectors compared to any other generation. It seems those aged 18 to 24 are significantly more hopeful and optimistic of Philippine society than any other age, including other millennials (ages 25 to 34).
The concept of judging an individual based on the generation they were born in is essentially a premature method of discernment. Propagating information about what a millennial is, what they’re into, and how they act as if everyone aged 18 to 34 all occupied one neat little box will never be quite conclusive. To put it simply, millennials in their 30s are vastly different from those in their teens and early 20s. The former neither had the Internet nor smartphones until they were in University or in their 20s, while the latter does not know a world without such technology.
Older millennials will most likely never be able to instinctually trust technology in the same degree as the younger millennials who grew up with it from infancy. Furthermore, technology is evolving at such an unprecedented rate in which we are failing to notice how this is changing our culture and resulting into shorter generation time frames. The way we consume and disseminate information has shifted in drastic ways that logically this would have an effect on our perceptions and behavior in society as a group and as individuals.
Millennials are also polarized mainly because individuals in this generation are experiencing two entirely different life stages. Older millennials are settling into their careers and beginning families whereas younger millennials are barely into adulthood. This means millennials are more diverse than we initially thought because as individuals they have completely different priorities and perceptions about how they interact in Philippine society. The Philippine Trust Index has even revealed that an individual is more likely to perceive and behave similarly with people from the same socioeconomic background or location of residence (urban vs. rural) rather than with their generation.
Ultimately, very little could be gained from generalizing a generation because it is a flawed way of bringing about truth (if it even does), and the Philippine Trust Index shows us how there is so much more to learn and gain from diversity rather than from stereotyping.
The Philippine Trust Index (PTI) is the EON Group’s multi-awarded proprietary research that looks into the levels and drivers of trust among Filipinos. It is a nationwide survey that cuts across socieconomic, educational, geographic and demographic backgrounds to discover the levels and drivers of trust in society’s key institutions — the Government, the Business Sector, the Media, Non-Governmental Organizations, the Church and the Academe. For more information about the discoveries of the Philippine Trust Index 2017, please email email@example.com