The subject of millennials is similar to the subject of technology, they both have changed the workforce in the last decade. As a millennial myself with mostly millennial peers, when I thought about hiring my generation and what we bring to the workforce, I thought about our goals and what motivates us. I can think of a clear difference in motivation compared to other generations. Everything from conversing and how we interact and socialize with our coworkers to our expectations about work was shaped by our upbringing. The millennial mindset is heavily influenced by the growth of technology as well as stress levels from finances and the pressure to compete with your neighbor.
With the growth and expansion of mobile technology, we can see that millennials are a lot more public via social media. Millennials hear about jobs via social media (like Facebook) and also through interactions on Twitter/LinkedIn. Once it is out, millennials search and find it. The next step for most of them is getting hired. Employers assessing the value of the applicant and also the pros and cons they hear in rumor mill about hiring millennials can be quite the challenge.
What are the pros and cons about hiring millennials?
- New blood
- Bring energy and excitement to their role
- Flexible working remote or in the office
- Create or want to be a part of an active company culture
- They are harder to retain because they job hop more frequently
- More demanding on flexibility on job
- More demanding for work/life balance
- Want more recognition from higher ups
- They get bored easily and need to be kept stimulated
- Sometimes carry a sense of entitlement and aren’t willing to work hard and “pay their dues”
So with all of that, how do companies maintain millennials if they are constantly hopping from one venture to the next? Or getting bored easily and carrying a sense of entitlement since they aren’t willing to “pay their dues?”
First, we need to understand their frustration. A majority of millennials attend college and come out of it with no work experience in order for them to start using their degree. Or are competing for entry level positions with people who have been out of school for far longer than them. Most entry level jobs that they see postings on LinkedIn, Indeed, etc. have a minimum requirement of 3 years or less. But realistically, the employer prefers the applicant with at least a couple years under their belt, which already is creating a disadvantage for them. Anthony Carnevale, a director and research professor for Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce says, “the bar is higher today. They’re (Millennials are) the first generation that needs to have a college degree and experience to compete, before they even enter the workforce.” (Newsweek) Compare this to previous generations making enough to support a family off a high school/GRE diploma.
Most millennials are viewed as hopping from one job to the next and demanding too much on salary when realistically a good amount of them are being laid off for company purposes or are not being paid enough to pay off their student loans or debt and living expenses, both which create this need to search for a new job elsewhere. People shouldn’t assume it is the norm, according to Business Week’s Richard Florida, “the average for the under 30 group is 1.5 years between job changes,” and I’ve been in my job a little over two years and have several friends who have been in their jobs even longer. People cannot always trust the stereotype.
Besides the stereotype of job hopping there is the stereotype of being lazy, but Millennials do want to pay their dues but they want to see the value coming from what they are doing. They want to see an end goal. And having performance or learning programs once they are hired excite them and encourage them to keep working harder. They see a light at the end of the tunnel to keep working harder. That’s the messaging companies should give as well when hiring, to be realistic in what the work day includes but also certain potential positive outcomes for working the lower pay job.
Millennials can be a powerful resource for companies who take the time to get to know them, share opportunities, and value their excited and energetic attitudes about work. They have new ideas and are eager to prove their worth to the organization – not to just be another piece of the corporate framework, but to be valued for who they are and the ideas they bring. Be prepared to offer them the salary, support, and culture they need and they can be among your hardest working employees. And if you don’t, you become a large part of a millennial’ need to job hop.