Dirk: Millennials – they are an exclusive club of 1.8 billion people which accounts for about a quarter of the world’s population. Globally, they are the world’s largest generation, having overtaken the Baby Boomers and Generation X some years ago. But, the millennial movement is more of a stereotype of the Western media and marketing. Almost nine in 10 millennials live in emerging economies. And if you look at China, the Chinese millennials alone outnumber the entire population of the US. In Europe, things are different. The proportion of millennials is much lower. Take, for example, Spain. Only 17.8% of the population are millennials, and Italy, with only 16.9%, has the smallest share of millennials in any major economy.
Who in our industry do you consider a thought leader, and why? Anastassios: Tristan Smith, please explain.
Anastassios: He’s basically the shipping lead of the UCL Energy Institute, and the reason I chose him is he is a leading figure in terms of decarbonization research at the moment. And, I know that may sound dull or perhaps maybe less exciting or significant than some of the other people that were mentioned, but I think if you pay attention over the next few years, you’ll hear his name more and more because a lot of the research, the projections they are making, it’s taking very seriously within the IMO who are going to be the people who set the goals for this industry. And, he’s kind of pushing the envelope with the things he’s doing. I think it’s also a symbol for the fact that academia will start to be taken a lot more, I don’t want to say seriously, but play a really important role in this industry over the next 10 years on this specific issue.
Dirk: Eslie, you said PortXL here from Rotterdam … bringing together start-ups and companies in our industry. Is that a way for millennials to get into the maritime industry?
Eslie: Yes, I believe so because I think, as you mentioned, there’s a lot of this industry consisting of Baby Boomers and older than our generation. I think the key is really to bring those generations together, and I think they have a great concept in doing that, where they bring people together without all the resources and bringing them together with larger companies to work together and develop great innovations with our industry because we need to make the link between the millennials and the older generations.
Dirk: How did you find your way into the maritime industry?
Marius: I founded my own company quite early on, which was fun, very interesting. I learned a lot, but I guess we in those companies, we always had a hard time getting partners and customers like Maersk and similar companies. So I guess there is no better way to learn than to work inside of such a company for a while, so I’m learning a lot. It’s really interesting to see how it works from the inside.
Elliot: By accident. My university had a job posting, and the work seemed really hard and difficult. It was a business analysis position, so I applied for it. And, I totally bombed the interview because I didn’t know what I was talking about fresh out of college, but they decided, for whatever reason, to hire me. That’s how I got into the industry. I’ve been here for eight years.
Jennifer: The port of Hamburg was always in my life. It’s the door to the whole world. I always wanted to do something that you can see, but on the other hand, you can use your analytical skills and that way can travel around. So, I’m the IT consultant here in this group, so we are traveling all around the world. I have projects everywhere where there’s a port, and I think that’s very attractive for me.
Audience Question: Are there stereotypes about millennials that don’t hold up?
Marius: One stereotype, just based on what I’m reading in the media, is that what millennials want is for a company to articulate some sort of purpose. And, if you hired a bunch of executive coaches and if those coaches helped executives to attach a purpose to the company, then you cascade that information to the millennials and you make sure to keep the wages reasonably low. They’ll flock to your company because this new purpose is interesting and inspiring. And, based on my experiences, and also my friends’ experiences, this just isn’t true.
Dirk: The purpose is more important than money?
Marius: No, the purpose is important, but millennials, just like any other generation, need to make a living. So, I would say that getting a decent salary is also important and to have opportunities to grow your income over time.
Dirk: Anybody support this or have a different opinion on this? Elliot, you’re shaking your head?
Elliot: I can weigh in. I think it’s interesting that there’s a stereotype because millennials definitely care about money. At least in the US, where we have a whole bunch of student debt that we’re trying to pay down. But we do care about purpose, so somehow that stereotype is coming through. I think that I feel really connected to my work and I feel like – I’m a product manager like yourself, Marius – I feel my identity is somewhat wrapped up in this product that I’m trying to deliver, and what I’m doing, and I think that I could find that somewhere else, but it still has to be the thing that gets me up every day to go in to work. I’ve got to really care. And so, I think that part of the stereotype is probably somewhat true.
Eslie: I find it interesting. I mean there are so many stereotypes, and I think for anything in the millennials, everyone can relate to something of that. I do actually think in our generation, if I look at my friends, everyone does want to make an impact or a difference, and also everyone wants to be special and different. I think that’s why millennials maybe don’t really like to be called a millennial. Because it’s a group. We don’t want to be a group; we want to be individuals.