In the fall of 2018, Leger conducted the largest ever youth study by polling more than 3,000 young people between the ages of 13 and 34. The study draws a clear and empirical portrait of millennials and Generation Z youth across Canada. It allows us to untangle certain myths that they can’t shake. Among them, of course, is the myth of the “like” phenomenon, which according to the study, turns out to be true.

Yet we know that never have two generations been more coddled by their parents than millennials and Generation Z. We therefore have young people between 13 and 34 who are constantly seeking recognition, despite having been told repeatedly that they are special and unique over the course of their lives.

Let’s try to understand why.

Our first reflex would be to blame social networks. In a culture of comparison and how these networks incite you to take centre stage, this has certainly led to a sentiment of not doing enough or not being up to the task. We all have the impression that other people have more exciting lives than ours.

On this aspect, the Youth Study is insightful: 68% of millennials have envied someone else on social networks, 93% seek out likes and 37% want to increase the number of likes they get!

But we should be careful. Social networks are not the only explanation for this quest for approval. Admittedly, they represent something unhealthy, but the fields of fashion, film, entertainment and advertising, which have been around much longer, can be just as harmful to one’s self-esteem.

Between family, friends and work, would you be able to guess by whom millennials feel the least acknowledged? The Youth Study demonstrates that it is at the workplace. For example, 40% of 25- to 34-year-olds believe that their employer does not recognize their work. This means that many of them don’t feel that their boss and co-workers give them due recognition for their work. So, this is another possible lead explaining their absolute need for recognition.

It remains to be seen if the passing years will fulfill their need to be “liked”…

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