Digital Natives Not Necessarily Tech Savvy

By: Arieanna Schweber | 7/8/2015

Millennials are the single largest generation in the US workforce; in 10 years this age cohort will account for 75% of the workforce. Millennials are the first generation to grow up with technology, often called “Digital Natives.” These Millennials assume they know a lot about technology, and so do employers. The problem is, Digital Native does not mean Tech Savvy, and therein lies a whole load of problems for data security.

Change the Equation analyzed the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) showing that many Millennials are not, in fact, very competent in many technical areas. Despite being glued to devices more than any other generation, they lack many tech skills needed for problem solving in a technology-rich environment. Examples given in the analysis include the ability to sort a spreadsheet and email the results, or to sort email into folders.

Though the purpose of this analysis was to examine a growing lack of technical skills, we posit this lack of skills, paired with an assumption of competence, is part of why Millennials represent the greatest risk to corporate data. Millennials who lack the skills represented here - an understanding of the knowledge environment and how to manipulate digital information - may be putting corporate data at risk without even knowing it. Emailing data may be “easier” than using a secure encrypted corporate tool. Using a personal cloud network may be “easier” than the corporate option (if there is one). While Millennials are great at taking the initiative to solve their own work problems, they often do so outside the scope of IT.

To learn more about how Millennials are putting corporate data at risk, download our own study on the issue, the 2015 US Mobile Device Security ReportWhen it comes to data protection, Absolute can help your organization plug the security holes created by mobility and human error. Our unique Persistence technology offers an important layer to any data security strategy and helps mitigate the risk of human error, rogue employees, and cybercrime. Learn more at

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