Millennials, Generation Y, Baby Boomlets… Whatever you want to call them, these digital natives are the bane of anyone over forty-five. But if you care about optimising your workforce, you’d better get acquainted with the youngsters within. Here’s why.
THEY ARE THE FUTURE
That’s right; millennials are taking over. They already outnumber the Baby Boomers and, according to a report commissioned by PwC, they will form 50% of the global workforce by 2020. As the number of Gen Y employees rises, it becomes more and more important to understand their aims in the workplace.
Look at the facts. The graduate candidate pool is now solely composed of those born between 1985 and 2000. The best companies have adapted accordingly, introducing innovative, millennial-aimed policies to attract the foremost talent. That’s why Google and Apple consistently attract the best of the best – not because of their big names or large pay-cheques, but because they claim to value the same things as Gen Y.
Meanwhile, organisations stuck in the nineties continue to fall behind. According to the same PwC report, 38% of graduate workers say that older senior management do not relate to them, and 34% claim that their personal drive is intimidating to other generations.
The message is clear: the gap between Boomers and Boomlets it widening. If companies want to ensure future prosperity, they should make sure to fall on the latter’s side of the canyon.
THEY ARE VALUABLE
With employers complaining of a lack of hard skills in the work force, millennials have the power to close this gap. In a digital era, programming and coding skills reign supreme, and the people most likely to have them are the under-30s. This is a generation that was raised with broadband, smartphones and laptops – who treat social media as a basic life skill, and expect instant access to information via internet. They are not only more tech-savvy than their older counterparts, but thrive in this environment.
These are the people who will shape the future of business. Ignore them at your peril.
THEY WANT DIFFERENT THINGS TO THEIR PARENTS
So what do these youngsters want? While Baby Boomers were raised on consumerism and a rising economy, millennials live in the shadow of the 2007 recession. Sure, they want to be paid. They also want flexible work guidelines, regular feedback, training and recognition. They want to feel, essentially, like they are contributing something meaningful to the world.
Topping millennial work incentives was a good work/life balance. Falling on the wrong side of this ratio poses a real threat to company loyalty; Gen Y is more likely to walk if the hours demanded are not reflected in their salary. Similarly, progression is more incentivising than cash. Half of grad recruits claim fast promotion was the main attraction in their current company, ahead of competitive wages.
That’s not to say they don’t care about money; in a high-cost world, it remains a major job draw. But it’s not all that counts. According to certain surveys, 80% of Gen Y workers believe that business can do good, and almost 90% judge the success of an employer by more than its financial performance.
A good listening process within a company can improve morale and make Gen Y employees feel valued – key to fostering good relationships between employer and employee. Following ideas put forward by a feedback network, LBMC recently implemented several suggestions including standing desks and paid paternity leave. In short, to keep hold of the real talent, you need to offer more than a salary.
THEY ARE NOT AFRAID TO WALK
Say what you like about moaning millennials, they’re not afraid to cut their losses. 25% of Gen Y workers plan to leave their current employers in the next year, and two-thirds don’t expect to be around in 2020. In fact, PwC found that over a quarter of the four thousand graduates surveyed expected to have six employers or more in their lifetimes. This is not a demographic that likes to suffer in silence; fail them and they won’t come back for more.
How to combat disloyalty among this generation? Use them. Strange but true: regardless of gender or location, three-quarters of millennial workers feel that they can offer more than their job permits them. Developing leadership skills in your younger employees will also encourage job fidelity; half of millennials feel overlooked when it comes to positions of leadership. Don’t let your millennial workers go to rot – put them out there, developing skills and taking on responsibilities.
So there you go: several reasons why investing attention in the millennial workforce will pay off in the long run. And if you don’t want to listen? Don’t be surprised when your younger employees find the door for themselves.
Susanna writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment firm which specialises in sourcing candidates for internship jobs and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit our website.