Millennials are ‘gung-ho’: Josephine Teo

Millennials (left to right) Faith Ong, 19, Ngee Ann Poly Mass Communications student, Amalina Rozman, 25, Creative Director and Delane Lim, 31, CEO. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

How are millennials different from baby boomers and Generation X?

They live longer and have more options.

This means they will be open to being "gung-ho" pioneers by taking the leap to have children even as they begin building their careers, Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo believes.

This is what gives her cause for optimism that Singapore's future population picture is not as dire as it could be.

She said: "This generation must think differently. They are the new pioneers."

One way in which millennials may differ from older Singaporeans is how they view career and families. Unlike some older Singaporeans who see building careers and raising families as two distinct and sequential phases of life, millennials can pursue both at the same time, said Mrs Teo.

And they have the right aptitude to pursue both, she added in an upbeat tone. "They are very gung-ho. And they are game."

She singled out a group that she found intriguing - young couples with children. "I'm the one who asked them, 'Isn't it very difficult?' And they are the ones who shrugged their shoulders and said, 'Ya, but we manage,' " said Mrs Teo with a laugh.

She also noted that living longer and having more opportunities mean that the younger generation will lead different lives from the generations before.

"The tempo of their life, the way their whole life story has to be written probably has got to be different," she said.

"If you are going to live to 80, and just going to peak at 40, 50, then after that what happens?" she asked.

"So this generation must think differently... and redefine how personal, family and career aspirations can be met."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2016, with the headline Millennials are ‘gung-ho’: Josephine Teo. Subscribe