By Peter Minkoff
The very word millennial seems to awake some feelings in older generations, particularly baby boomers who consider them lazy, entitled and “always glued to their phones,” among other things. What these critics are still failing to understand is the fact that just because this generation approaches life and work differently, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their approach is wrong.
We are currently at a crossroads work-force wise. There are now 92 million millennials in the US alone and approximately 1.8 billion worldwide. It is also estimated that by the year 2025, they will account for 75% of the entire workforce. To say that they are a force to be reckoned with would be a considerable understatement. Perhaps it is this amount of power, besides the fact that they’re still sort of an enigma, which frightens older generations, but as baby boomers retire and millennials take their place, change is sure to come.
How Millennials Are Changing the Career Building Game
The questions that we’re attempting to answer today are: what are millennials’ career aspirations, how are employers responding to them and how will they ultimately reshape the career game?
Keeping their eyes open
When discussing the shopping habits of millennials, numerous surveys have come to the conclusion that this generation is likely to switch brands if another offers a similar product at a better price or provides supreme customer service. The same applies to company loyalty. According to an extensive survey, members of this generation expect to have anywhere from two to six employers in their lifetime. Is this because millennials are flaky and get bored easily? No, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. If they realize that corporate loyalty doesn’t bring them financial nor other, less tangible benefits, they are likely to keep their eyes open and search for greener pastures. This is precisely why corporations are bending over backward to cater to the needs of these young, talented people. But what does this hoop-jumping entail exactly?
More EQ less IQ
Some say that being praised and given plenty of attention from a young age has spoilt millennials, but this might change the corporate world for the better. If you’re a millennial, chances are you’ve heard your parents frequently say things like “he’s not my friend, he’s my colleague.” We, millennials, are looking to blur the lines, increase communication and form bonds with people we spend a great portion of our day with. This kind of rapport can only increase the level of productivity.
To guide and praise
Beyond just having great co-workers, this generation desires attention and mentorship from their superiors. Constant feedback is highly important, as lack of individual recognition is one of the main reasons a millennial is likely to leave their current job. They want both positive and negative feedback, and instead of just a good salary (which does matter), they’re looking for a chance to shine and advance in their career. If they feel undervalued, or worse, if they feel like they’re not learning and growing, they are very likely to leave even if ‘the money is good.’
Sometimes it seems like your typical millennial still envision this perfect world in which you get a degree and instantly land a great, high-paying job. To some extent, this is true; they are idealistic, and they do need the money to pay off all those student loans, but they’re not afraid of starting small. Many will work part-time jobs: do bartending or earn money online with paid surveys; some will become brand ambassadors, others will work in IT while still in school – but once they’ve got some experience under their belt, they will be coming to play in the big leagues and will make demands, because if there’s one thing they know it’s their worth.
One of the best traits of millennials is not that they’re digital savvy. No, their best trait is being caring. They care about social, political, gender and all other forms of equality. They care about different charitable causes, are aware of environmental issues, and they want to work in a place that shares the same values. They want to work for a company that is committed to helping the community, and a whopping 94% of millennial employees prefer applying their skills for pro bono work and express a specific desire for companies to institute more company-wide volunteer days and sabbaticals for volunteering. Money matters, advancement matters, but so does the business of doing good.
Not balance, but blend
Gen X came up with the concept of ‘work-life balance.’ Well, millennials are here to alter this notion. See, unlike previous generations, millennials don’t mind being bothered at home and they’ll even take the work home gladly. However, they wish for something in return. If they are bringing work home, they wish to bring home to work as well. The future will no longer lock employees out of their private lives, and we are already seeing more and more companies allowing employees to do their work from home.
The best part, though, is that we’re seeing an increasing number of millennials starting their own businesses and implementing these innovative, good practices from the get-go. This is the managerial style of the future, so if the existing large corporations wish to survive and attract this enormous and talented workforce, they’ll have to step up their game and become more appealing.