Generation 2001: Techno-Confident Millennials


By Dave Murphy

Generation 2001, youngsters born between 1979 and 2001, are not driving their father's Oldsmobile, according to a Harris poll commissioned by Northwestern Mutual.

Here are snippets from Harris Interactive's press release...

"In a nutshell, these students are way connected, way career- minded and way confident," said Deanna L. Tillisch, director of the Generation 2001 study.

"This is the first generation that can stake a full claim to the Internet -- they're virtually 100 percent connected.

Gen2001 students are ready to work -- with resumes in-hand -- and have significant entrepreneurial drive.

They already have 'to-do' lists and are confident they will achieve their goals," added Tillisch. The study is the second of its kind to survey a nationally representative cross section of 2,001 college students from this generation. Where this new study looks at college seniors today, the first survey, conducted in 1997, looked at members of this same group when they were freshmen.

Here are some top line results:

Generation 2001 students use the Internet, with almost 100 percent of them online. No other generation can make this claim, with only two-thirds of the general population accessing the Internet. Furthermore, the Internet usage of Generation 2001 students has nearly doubled since they were freshmen, from an average of 6 to 11 hours a week.

"Where others have tagged them Generation Y, Generation Next and even Generation 2001, this group is telling us it prefers to be called 'The Cyber Generation,'" Tillisch said. "It's not surprising given their dependence on the Internet."

For example: It's their primary news source -- Four out of five Gen2001 students turn on their computers instead of the radio (57 percent) or TV (55 percent) to get their news and information. Print media such as newspapers and magazines are the least favored (37 percent and 39 percent, respectively) sources of news and information.

-- It's how they correspond with the world -- Nine out of 10 Gen2001 students send and receive e-mails on a daily or frequent basis, compared with only 13 percent who write letters by hand.

It's how they look for jobs -- More than half (54 percent) of the Gen2001 students have visited the career-planning Web site, and significant numbers have frequented other such sites like, and to help launch their careers.

It's a good mixer -- While there have been numerous things said about the feelings of isolation created by the Internet, Gen2001 students say overwhelmingly (78 percent) that it has brought them closer to the world. .They trust it -- Where nearly half (46 percent) of those Americans who access the Internet are very concerned about the privacy and security of their online activities, only half as many (23 percent) Gen2001 students share this concern.

Picture a world of entrepreneurs -- More than half (56 percent) of the Generation 2001 students say it is likely that they will someday work for themselves or start their own business.

Furthermore, when considering their "dream job," nearly twice as many want to be a founder of a start-up company as want to be CEO of a Fortune 1000 company.

"Clearly, there's an entrepreneurial spirit found in this group," Tillisch said. "Look at the different career components that are important to Gen2001 students, and you'll find high on their list that they want lots of responsibility, lots of independence, lots of room for creativity and flexible working hours. All this, over job prestige and earning a high salary, which clearly aren't as important."


Harris Interactive