12/27/2011 03:29 pm ET Updated Feb 26, 2012

Why Millennials Won't Grow Out of It

On my holiday lunch circuit with clients, I kept hearing a similar refrain from people. They are struggling to manage Millennials right out of college. They appreciate that they're tech-savvy, creative and enthusiastic. But harnessing those qualities in the work place is elusive. As people, they seem so different, I kept hearing.

It's no hype: folks between 18 and 29 are very different from the rest of us. Their aspirations, political leanings, attitudes and beliefs set them apart from generations preceding them.

This infographic by Online Graduate Programs does a good job of summing up the data:


Created by: Online Graduate Programs

The question is: will they grow out of it?

Like previous generations, they may fall in line once they settle down and start families. Right? Don't bet on it. They seem willing to postpone marriage indefinitely.

Millennial politics will also have a lingering effect. Check out the second panel about politics to see that 66 percent voted for Obama. Historically, voting behaviors are set early in a person's civic life. It's possible to predict a "lost generation" to the Republicans and it helps explain why Newt Gingrich is gaining traction among the base.

The same may be said for the future of organized religion. With 25 percent of Millennials having no affiliation, they're the most God-less generation of Americans. Faith is also a cultural phenomenon set in motion early in a person's life. More church closings seem likely once Boomers meet their maker.

So the disconnect other generations may be feeling seems legit. But it doesn't have to be negative. It's also a generation eager to better itself. And that looks to its elders for guidance and sponsorship to face a future with few job prospects and an abundance of education.