Wednesday 13 April 2016 9:32 pm

Lazy, selfish? Millennials are actually more outward looking than any other generation

Some say millennials are apathetic, self-centred and obsessed with social media – but they're actually more outward looking than any generation that has come before them, according to new research.

Nick Blunden, global managing director at the Economist, praised the selfie-generation at the Millennial 20/20 summit, saying: "They manage their own personal brands not just as an ego trip, but because they want to inspire action around the causes they are passionate about."

Blunden said that research conducted by the Economist shows that around 33 per cent millennials were classified as influential, defined as people who are active, interested and entrepreneurial. Just 12 per cent of so-called baby boomers were in this category, and 21 per cent of Gen-X'ers.

The research was conducted globally, and Blunden said that young people all over the world understood the importance of their "personal brand" and were very selective about how they used their power and influence.

"It's all about authenticity and integrity, because they have a very sophisticated understanding of branding and influence," Blunden said. "They are absolutely clear about the need to be authentic in everything that you do.

"We do this generation a disservice if we assume they are not interested, that they just want the easy option. That is fundamentally not the case."

Young people who are most keen to have an impact are not being attracted to one particular sphere of work, and are as likely to be found in a schoolroom as there are in an office in the City.

Speaking to City A.M., Blunden said: 

These people are involved in politics, in business, in economics, some of them were still involved in education. They could be doing what you might consider to be a relatively common job but they may have a side project about something absolutely extraordinary.