Generation Y: Definition, Characteristics & Personality Traits

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  • 0:00 What is Generation Y?
  • 1:09 Characteristics of…
  • 2:11 Personality of Generation Y
  • 3:08 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Chevette Alston

Dr. Alston has taught intro psychology, child psychology, and developmental psychology at 2-year and 4-year schools.

This lesson defines what is meant by Generation Y. It also gives examples of the characteristics and personality traits often associated with this group of people. After this lesson, test your new knowledge with our quiz questions.

What is Generation Y?

Generation Y are a group of people born during the '80s and the early '90s. The name is based on Generation X, which is the peer group that came before them. Generation Y people may be known as echo boomers because they are the children of baby boomers, or someone who was born during the period of increased birth rates that occurred between 1946 and 1964. The Generation Y cohort is also referred to as Millennials, the Internet generation, iGen and/or the Net generation.

Overall, this generation of people prefers to communicate through e-mail and text messages rather than actual face-to-face contact. Learning for them is more than just traditional brick and mortar college campuses. They also have access to presentations via webinars and online classes. Because children born during this time period have always had constant access to modern technology, such as computers, laptops and cell phones, in their youth, their employment and social life is constantly defined by or required to incorporate updated forms of such types of electronics.

Characteristics of Generation Y

Generation Y is thought to be more family-oriented and willing to sacrifice career advancement for a better work/life balance. However, this doesn't mean they aren't achievement-oriented. Generation Y can be confident and ambitious. They are not afraid to question authority, are constantly seeking out new challenges and want meaningful work.

Generation Y people typically want to be part of a team, but at the same time they desire to be in the spotlight. While they value teamwork and seek the input and affirmation of others, they also crave attention, feedback and guidance. Overall, they are loyally committed and want to be included and involved.

Several other characteristics have been found over the years. According to a 2013 poll in the United Kingdom, Generation Y was found to be more open-minded than their parents to controversial topics. It's also significantly more likely that Generation Y people don't practice any organized religion than older generations and tend to distrust religious institutions.

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