Many aspects of the media seem to take great delight in pointing out the differences between generations in the workplace. We have all seen the videos where smug parents mock their Gen Z kids for not knowing how to dial a call on a rotary phone or operate a VCR. The truth is these skills 20th-century life skills remain in the analog world.

To thrive and survive in a fast-moving digital era, workers are developing a new set of skills and requirements across multiple industries. There is an increasing belief that digital natives have very different ideas of the traditional stock media industry that is starting to look a little out of touch.

For example, creatives have typically relied on the tried-and-trusted “all inclusive” software suites such as Adobe’s Creative Cloud for all their stock media needs. But in a world where standing out from the crowd and authenticity are the new currency, younger creatives are drifting from the well-worn path according to the surprising findings in a recent report.

A recent survey by Storyblocks asked 1,000 content creators a variety of questions about the critical differences in how each generation approaches creativity in the workplace. It’s not too surprising to hear that Millennials were twice as likely to visit YouTube, Pinterest, and Facebook when in search of inspiration. Equally, traditional creatives heading for middle age are twice as likely to turn to online and print publications when looking for a creative spark.

How each of us approaches the creative process will typically depend on our experiences with creativity and the learning abilities we picked up from our formative years. However, in a world where continuously improving is celebrated rather than feared, open-minded Millennials are much more likely to make the most of a wealth of opportunities to upskill or even make themselves limitless.

The 18-35 age group can be seen enjoying learning new creative tasks. Examples include building a mobile app (14% to 7%), learning to code (22% to 13%), taking an online art course (21% to 12%), or even learning how to knit (18% to 6%). Sure there is an element of irony that Millennials are preparing for middle-age by learning the lost art of knitting, but could there be something much more significant going on here?

Most revealing is the predictable decline of creatives who download directly from stock media sites of (69%) compared to their older peers (89%). Younger creatives have a thirst to incorporate more authentic content into their professional projects to reflect the diverse, connected, urban world that we live in.

Tired and clichéd footage of an old man with a computer or two men shaking hands in a boardroom are routinely mocked through internet memes. Social media timelines now demand creative narratives with the authenticity that mirrors our real life rather than the heavily staged airbrushed aesthetic of print publications.

It is yet to be seen if the different approaches and age gaps will have a profound impact on the content creation space. A surge in profits at Adobe would suggest that they don’t have too much to worry about at the moment. But there does seem to be a wind of change in the air on the kind of stock footage being used in blog posts.

Maybe younger creatives will soon be having the last laugh when their older colleagues continue to use the clichéd images rather than diverse content that reflects our modern world.

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

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