Millennial business owners in Russia: are they different?

Self-reported differences from Gen X and Gen Z in business goals, values, and approaches

Whether or not you find it useful to follow advice on how to communicate with coworkers from different generations, there is a grain of truth in those familiar stereotypes. An international survey covered in this HBR article shows that there are differences between generations X, Y, and Z across the world, for example:

  • Gen Y and Gen Z are more motivated to gain a leadership position
  • Gen Z are much more interested in starting a business, and
  • older professionals are less than enthused with new technologies, and younger professionals embracing them

Of course, there’s a lot of variation across countries. This 2017 Deloitte survey of millennials in Russia provides a more specific insight into the demographics, economic and social outlook, and attitudes of Russian millennials. Notably, only 25% of surveyed Russians were interested in becoming freelancers or consultants, as opposed to 31% globally.

But what about business owners? Do their attitudes towards business and life change across generations – or are they an entrepreneurial bunch with the same outlook?

To find out, Data Insight and Ozon collaborated on qualitative research to compile an overview of the values and attitudes towards business across generations. In addition to a qualitative survey of millennial business owners, they plan to conduct online surveys across generations. For now, they’ve published the results from the first part of the survey, where millennial entrepreneurs discussed their personal and business values, and also described their perceptions of differences in values between generations.

In this summary of their survey findings, you’ll learn how millennials perceive themselves and Gen X and Gen Z business owners, and what matters most to them.

During their research, Data Insight and Ozon specialists focused on the following 3 areas:

  • business owners’ attitudes towards their businesses
  • their attitudes towards employees, their management approach
  • their attitudes towards interactions with business partners and clients

Throughout their research, interviewees were also asked to evaluate Gen X and Gen Z business owners, giving a snapshot of their perception of these groups.

Russian millennial business owners: values, work-life balance and goals

Millennial business owners in Russia: their attitude towards their business

When asked about their values, 12 out of 30 respondents mentioned honesty, which included honesty in business; expectations for employees; and a sense of personal responsibility.

In terms of business values, millennials expect a profitable business to contribute to their self-development goals, and to benefit society.

Millennials about Gen X:

  • business goal – stability
  • mission – benefiting society

Millennials about Gen Z:

  • business goal – self-development
  • mission – benefiting society

Work-life balance for millennial business owners in Russia

Most millennial business owners believe that there should be a viable work-life balance with work not taking over their life.

Interestingly, they believe that Gen X entrepreneurs have always lived to work, and that Gen Z, conversely, is not invested in work quite as much as they are.

Business as a goal for Russian millennial entrepreneurs

Somewhat surprisingly, responses to the question “Is your business leading you towards a goal, or are you more focused on your journey?” are split down the middle. Some of the business owners see their business as a way to reach a specific goal, while others see it as a way to grow.

As you can probably guess, millennials believe that Gen X business owners feel that their businesses are a goal in themselves.

Gen Z entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are perceived as primarily interested in business as a lifestyle.

Management approach: generational differences among business owners

In terms of approaching strategic decisions and managing subordinates, millennials also believe that there are some intergenerational differences. For example, they think that Gen Xers prefer more rigid organizational structures, are open to hiring friends and family, and value experience and professional qualities in their hires.

As for themselves, millennial business owners prefer matrix management structures, are more open to hiring employees based on their personal characteristics.

Gen Z is perceived as the generation of flat organization structures where it’s perfectly fine to hire friends.

Business relationships for millennial business owners in Russia

This is the category where perceived differences between generations are the most prominent. Millennial business owners in Russia feel that Gen X businessmen are overly aggressive and try to pressure business partners into accepting a bad deal, whereas Gen Z is much more open to finding a win-win solution.

More than half of the respondents felt that it was harder to communicate with business partners from different generations.

In terms of joining online communities to support their business goals, Gen Z is – understandably – perceived as more active online, and Gen X as the least interested in online networking.

Additional information about generational differences in Russia

For an alternative approach to segmenting Russians into generational groups, you can view this article tying historical milestones to changes among generations of Russians and outlining their values and attitudes.

If you’re looking for details on the differences in internet usage between generations, we’ve got you covered:

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