Five Things You Need to Know About Millennials and Their Careers

Millennials already represent the largest share of the workforce at 35%, greater than Boomers or GenX. And not surprisingly, they have different attitudes towards their careers than previous generations. These differences will cause HR departments to rethink training strategies. Some important new training may include life coaching, mentorship and skills acquisition.

Here are five things you need to know about millennial attitudes towards work:

  1. Money. In spite of a recession, college debt and a job crisis, millennials are not as focused on income as previous generations. A recent study by Deloitte found 50% of millennials say they would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values.
  1. Jobs with Purpose. Some 90% want to use their skills for good. This generation has more altruistic opinions about the purpose of business and is disapproving of many businesses. Three-fourths feel businesses are more focused on their own agenda than improving society. Millennials want to make the world more compassionate, innovative and sustainable.  They value companies that encourage some type of global or community social responsibility.
  1. Work/Life Balance. PWC found in their NextGen Study that many millennials do not feel that excessive work demands of some professional careers are worth the sacrifices to their personal life. Millennials value work/life balance, and the majority of them are unwilling to commit to making their work lives an exclusive priority, even with the promise of substantial compensation later on.
  1. Job Flexibiity and Job Hopping. Millennials value more freedom in their work schedule and workplace. They want to be able to set their start time, and provide flexibility to make-up time on their schedule. They are even willing to give up pay and delay promotions to gain more flexibility. Last year, the median job tenure for workers aged 25 to 34 was three years, indicating the type of restlessness in job

That desire for flexibility also extends to their entrepreneur tendencies. Not surprising, more than half of millennials express interest in starting a business, or working freelance.  Currently some 34% of the workforce are freelance, and is expected to grow.

  1. Valued at Work. Everyone wants to feel valued at work, but for millennials it is especially important. Some employers are emphasizing a more fluid structure of organization that spreads decision-making among a set of roles and teams. Millennials expect regular and frequent feedback on their work, and they want to participate in setting assignments.

The most important characteristic that this generation wants is transparency and honesty. It’s a caution to not just talk the talk, but to actually represent the values that millennials care about for their careers.



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