3 Defining Traits of Millennials That Your Union Needs to Know

How do you picture your organization 10 years from now? Will you still be there? We'll share 3 defining traits of Millennials that your union needs to know.
Photo of young business woman in a conference room

How do you picture your organization 10 years from now? At this point, we know you have thought about the future of your organization. Will you still be there? Who do you envision sitting to your left? To your right?

By 2025, Millennials are expected to make up 75 percent of the global workforce. That can be a scary thought, but we’ve worked with Millennial-centric organizations for over 16 years and have some helpful tips that may help you with a strategy to bring them on your team.

Food for thought

The Millennials consist of more than 80 million people.

  • Only 5 percent of workers 25 and under are represented by unions**
  • And only 11 percent among those who are between the ages of 26 and 34**
  • Union membership for millennials has matured in the recent years, although, the increase is so small it’s difficult to rule out statistical error.**
  • Factors such as organizational transparency, and collaboration are particularly valued.


“There are a number of surveys that show that millennials are favorable to unions because they stand for community and solidarity, which millennials are all into,” says Neil Howe, a consultant on millennial attitudes and behaviors.

3 defining traits that make Millennials tick

It is important to listen to your existing members, but it’s also important to make decisions that are attractive to potential Millennial members.

From our background in working with Millennials and in tandem with a study conducted by third-party MJ Marketing, there are certain characteristics that define Millennials that can be integrated into both your short term, and long term membership plans.

  1. 69% of Millennials experience FOMO – FOMO refers to the concept of ‘Fear of missing out’. Millennials feel the need to be connected all the time, partake in activities or trends simply so they don’t feel like they are missing out on anything their peers may be experiencing.* How can YOU create a sense of FOMO around your organization and mission?
  2. 78% of Millennials would choose to spend money on a desirable event over buying something desirable* This translates over to engagement. Millennials are willing to invest their time and money in organizations if they offer desirable experiences such as networking or being part of a larger picture in return.
  3. Co-creation – Millennials are a generation that want to put their stamp on everything and be part of the development of products, strategies and initiatives. How can your organization help Millennial members add their personal touch and a sense of ownership in important initiatives and campaigns?

Not their father’s union

Millennials need to know that unions are transforming and they can help them in the modern workplace. “The older generations, they had bad experiences with unions in their time,” says Jacquita Berens, a 30-year-old who is working to organize home health workers in Minnesota for the Service Employees International Union.


“The older generations, they had bad experiences with unions in their time.”


So next time this topic comes up in the Board or Strategic Initiatives meetings – come armed with knowledge of what makes Millennials tick and challenge everyone to think outside the box.


*Source “Millennials are humans, too: Building Lifelong Bonds in a Digital World”

** Source Greenblatt, Alan “How Millennials can Make Their Mark on Unions” July 2014.