The era of millennials has arrived. For years, experts discussed how to adapt to the impending influx of young workers who are the most educated, culturally diverse and tech savvy in U.S. history. Millennials in general, are people in their 20’s to mid 30’s. Today, millennials are the largest generation in the American workforce and they are in positions ranging from entry level to leadership roles. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics has predicted that by 2030, millennials will comprise of 75% of the U.S. workforce. As you can imagine, the influence of the millennial generation in the workforce will only continue to increase over time and organizations that can leverage the talents of Gen Y will be the ones who will continue to succeed and thrive.
There has been exhaustive amounts of polarizing debate across the web about millennials. Some claim that millennials are difficult to manage because they are entitled, coddled, and narcissistic. Others have championed millennials as employees who are natural innovators, hyper-efficient, ambassadors of diversity, and driven by impact. Many employers have tried to leverage these unique characteristics to work with their millennial employees more effectively. This approach has worked to varying degrees of effectiveness. A survey by Gallup reported that 50% of millennial employees, compared to 40% of non-millennials, do not plan to be working with their current employer in a year. What this means is that half of millennials in the workforce do not see a future with their current company.
Interestingly, although there are certain characteristics, positive or negative, that are strikingly “millennial”, when it comes to what matters most when making career related decisions, they are actually quite similar to the generations that came before them. Many independent studies including those discussed by the Harvard Business Review and TalentSpace have demonstrated that millennials, along with previous generations, have very analogous career goals. Our own study on millennial professionals across the U.S. and Canada also support these ideas. The top factors that influence a millennial to start at a new job are: opportunity for growth, ability to maintain good work-life balance, and fair compensation. Further details about this research study is elaborated in our post on "How to Attract and Retain Millennial Talent".
Although career goals, at a first glance, may appear to be trans-generational, we have found that millennials understand and define these apparent timeless career values slightly differently than previous generations. This overall is good news for employers. Instead of needing to completely reinvent how they attract and retain their top young talent, they simply need to adjust their current strategies to encompass the nuances of what makes millennials unique. To do this, focus on understanding the core experiences that drive their characteristics and behaviors.
Our head of product discusses the core millennial experiences that have influenced their nature in the workplace in her recent guest appearance on TalentCulture’s #Worktrends podcast. She discusses how experiences such as growing up in a world with rapid technological change, in an education system that reinforced frequent reward and feedback opportunities, and in a society that has increasingly merged work into self identities have influenced the way millennials think about career advancement, meaningful work, and work-life balance. Listen to the full conversation at TalentCulture.